I said in the last post that Inkle's Sorcery app achieves that, but there may be other sweet spots too. That's really just a guess. I'm basing it on the principle that a gamebook in print form can work perfectly well if there are no pictures, and a CRPG is fine with no words. (The way I play them, anyway - I can never be bothered to stop and read all those tedious parchmenty scrolls, much to Jamie's annoyance.)
But that's just the limiting cases. How about places in between? Inkle found one - are there others? And what about the medium itself? How much of a difference does that make? Reading a gamebook in print is not very different from reading a novel. On the first run-through, at least, you'll probably take time to enjoy the prose. But put the same book onto a phone, and there's a strong impulse to flip through all the jaw-jaw to get to the next set of choices.
I spent the last eight months converting four Virtual Reality titles and the first two books in the Way of the Tiger series into ebook format. Yes, not apps, ebooks. Will readers respond to these as they would to a print gamebook? I hope so; I've kept the print reading experience pretty much unchanged, as you can see from the screenshot above. But is that a valid assumption? If you're reading the books on an ereader, you presumably don't expect graphical bells and whistles. On a tablet or phone, though, you could go straight from playing The Shamutanti Hills or An Assassin in Orlandes to Heart of Ice. Absorbing a story in the form of prose requires a different mental gear, in fact a whole other mind-set, from reacting to hybrid input comprising graphics, text and audio.
To sum up: it is not obvious whether people can read a gamebook like a regular book when it is transplanted from the page to the screen.
If I were writing new interactive books, there are two obvious ways I might go. One is to dispense with the gameplay aspect so that the book is "interactive literature" - that is, it's all about the reading experience. That's what I did with Frankenstein and Jon Ingold did with Flaws. This is the interesting direction for interactive fiction if it wants to grow up.
The other route is to stick with solve-the-plot interactivity but do something with much less text - either as a Fabled Lands type experience with very short descriptive passages and a lot of freedom of choice, or by making it more of an interactive motion comic and dropping text altogether. Of the two latter options, the first tends towards CRPGs - in fact, is really just a CRPG on the cheap - so will not thrive long as a distinct species, I think. The other is just how to arrive back at adventure games by means of a ten-year detour. Which is no bad thing; adventure games have always been waiting for the equivalent of a Wii to bring them to the mass market, and maybe the iPad or iPhone is it.
What do you think is the next step in the evolution of gamebooks? Don't all shout at once.