Gamebook store

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Fabled Lands e-gamebook now on iPhone

That's not a picture of Jamie wondering who farted, it's just visual proof that, despite fears to the contrary, Megara Entertainment's Fabled Lands iPhone game is far from being totally JPRG in style. In fact the app has hundreds of pictures with a range of styles reflecting the various locations, all aimed at giving a respectful facelift to the old '90s incarnation of the books.

Wait - back up a sec. Did I say "iPhone"? I did indeed, because Mikael Louys's team have done the conversion work so that you can play the game without needing to buy an iPad. You ask me, I'm still going to tell you to buy an iPad, but Mikael wanted to make it easy for you. The game will run on an iPod Touch too, so you don't even need a fancy phone.

Mikael reports that the FL app has shot up to #63 in the main USA roleplaying rankings on iTunes. This is no mean feat, given that it has been on sale for barely 36 hours. I know I will be asked two questions. First, "How can one or two sales make any difference to FL's future fortunes?" Well, as I've explained before, getting a high ranking on iTunes makes a game more visible, which leads to more people being aware of it and hence more copies sold. This is why early sales are so important, to boost that ranking quickly up and reach escape velocity.

Which leads to the other question: "How will buying an iPhone app lead to new Fabled Lands books?" Because no entertainment business these days can survive by selling one product. Marvel don't make money by just selling comic books, they create properties that are multi-stranded and you support those properties whether you buy the comic, the DVD or just the Iron Man lunchbox. Fabled Lands LLP makes just as much revenue from sales of the FL app as from sales of the new edition print books, meaning that a sale of either of those is another tick in the column that may convince the FL board to fund new gamebooks.

But who cares about all that business stuff? The fact is that Megara have produced a brilliant reinvention of the first FL book as a 2D roleplaying game, in living color with atmospheric music, and you get at least 20 hours of gameplay for about $5. It's a no brainer, even for old Jamie the Orc there.


  1. user@example.com1 March 2011 at 22:26

    When I saw this released yesterday, it made my day. Thanks to everyone involved in its production!

  2. And the hard work is paying off. This morning the iPhone app is #49 in iTunes role-playing games (#30 in the UK rankings).

  3. The hard work is paying off on the print side as well, as evidenced by the current Amazon sales figures:

    Amazon UK Amazon US

    1 12,291 30,536
    2 28,166 41,987
    3 23,867 41,997
    4 79,750 58,861

    I've noticed that sales have steadily risen over time (and rightfully so) on all fronts; and Fabled Lands LLC (LLP?) are in very capable hands, if I must say so :)

    Maybe the completion of the series is closer than anyone imagined!

  4. Hi Mike, if only those were sales figures and not rankings!

    There is an estimate here of how many copies a book has to sell to achieve a given rank:
    although he does say that it's not official.

  5. Hi Dave,

    I've just purchased all available FL books from Amazon and had them sent to Australia. These books were available at my local library when I was a kid and I must say, the were the most worn out books I'd come across. I figured it was about time I paid for all the free fun I had with these books back then. I just started with the FLapp as well, but I'm not having as much luck because I can't cheat!

    Thanks for sharing your worlds with us,


  6. Hey Michael - you're living proof that freemium works :)

  7. wow i can't believe i missed this news 2 days ag0 -.- Off my way to the app store! =)

  8. Sorry, I meant sales rank. I've read the Foner Books article last week and they mentioned that a sales rank of 10,000 was good, but a rank of 1,000,000 means that you should not waste your time on such a venture. We shall get there soon enough as practically every product is doing well at the moment. Isn't Mirabilis doing well since you provided the Book Buzzer preview? I realize that viewing a free preview doesn't necessarily translate to sales, but it does help.

    If only the Fabled Lands board had an advertising campaign........ the possibilities would open up tremendously!

  9. Interesting. Maybe someday there'll even be a PC version, which I could actually buy and use!

  10. There is a version of Fabled Lands for PC, Anon, but I assume you want a PC conversion of the Megara app? I'm afraid that one is probably way back in the queue, behind Android, PSP, Kindle, Nook, Blackberry... Sorry.

    However, if what you like is the sandboxy multi-stranded nature of Fabled Lands, the FL series' true 21st century successor is Echo Bazaar, which you most definitely can play on your PC. Go right here:

    and you can be experiencing the unearthly delights of Fallen London within minutes. For free.

  11. I got the app and it's great althoght I did run into a bug when I died and try to start over, just got a null message.

    It's like to have a paper print out of the Maps for the game, as they are a bit hard to read on the ipod. Are the available for download?

    Thanks for the killer app. Waiting for Heart of Ice app

  12. Hi Anon, I'm pretty sure the maps are available both on Spark Furnace and Megara's site. See the right-hand column of this blog for links.

    Mikael's team are working on catching a few bugs and will be uploading a new version in the next few days.

    Heart of Ice - funny you should mention that, we've been looking at doing something with it in partnership with a publisher. Stay tuned!

  13. If you do decide to republish Heart of Ice, I wonder if you would be able to add the 100 extra sections that you said were required to perfect the book. That would be amazing.

  14. Interesting idea... hmm. What's bothering me is that returning to the book after a gap of 17 years or whatever it is, I'd be unlikely to recapture the same style. Might just mess up a (nearly) perfectly good book :) so I'll have to think about that one.

  15. Have faith in yourself as a writer, Dave. I know us fans do. :)

  16. Thank you, Hamza! Actually, though, I wasn't so much being modest (having done some rather spiffing writing for Mirabilis #9 this afternoon... ahem) as feeling the reluctance to go back to a work having sent it out into the world - in the same way that I doubt if Johnny Depp would feel right going back to the role of Edward Scissorhands. Tricky to explain, but it has to feel right. Still, if the Muse decides, so shall it be.

  17. YES!!! I was dreading th thought of saving up enough for an i-pad (something i never want to purchase and am unlikely to ever have th money for) but my girlfriend's got an i-pod touch, finally i'll get to see War-Torn Kingdom in all its new glory! Thanks Dave and Megara!

  18. We wanted you to save your money so you can buy all the FL apps Megara will be doing, Jed :) It may be too early to say for sure, but I'm hopeful it could be all 12 books.