Choose Your Own Adventure


Most of you probably remember reading Choose Your Own Adventure books, which gained a lot of popularity in the 1980s. In


CYOA novels, the story, under your control, does not follow a linear path but rather whichever one you select through logic, intuition, or pure luck. Even though the majority of the time things tended to end in doom rather than triumph (or even more likely, a mediocre finish), it's a unique narrative structure that made the books fascinatingly interactive for kids who loved to read—as well as for those who were more on the fence about the whole thing.

In this exhaustive study of Choose Your Own Adventure novels, certain trends like the diminishing numbers of possible endings and the linear versus "hopscotch" numbering of pages are charted, along with a look at that old obsession of finding every possible path in order to determine the best ending (which, in the case of the book Inside UFO 54-40 happens not in the course of choosing you route, but only if you flip through the pages, making it an Easter egg that's unique to it being a book rather than, say, a computer game ... even though computer games are essentially what made the algorithms for the conception of of non-linear world exploration possible to begin with!)

I've read through this article about five times now and am still picking up new things. The charts and diagrams are fantastic. I know I read some CYOA books when I was younger, but I sadly can't recall their titles. What about you, Flossers? Did you read these, still own them, or have a definitive volume you think the rest of us should check out? (Thanks to my friend Matt for sharing this site!)