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Wednesday, 5 January 2022

The pinnacle of open world solo gamebooks?

The Vulcanverse books have not had a lot of reviews, apart from some by NFT/crypto fans that I think were just puffing the books to support the online world, and I've been wondering about that. Do people not bother with Amazon reviews any more? Are the books so big that people who bought them haven't had time to play them yet? Do they just hate them so much that they can't be arsed? 

Then I came across this review (above) by Joonseok Oh and it made my week. I know that Joonseok is a experienced and discerning gamer as he's completed all four Vulcanverse books and acquired all the codewords and titles. So his opinion would carry weight with me either way, and I'm mightily relieved he's in favour of the series.

Open world gamebooks are an acquired taste, and can be hard to get used to if you were raised on the here's-your-quest structure of series like Fighting Fantasy. In an open world book you are being invited to explore and find your own adventures. You won't necessarily get steered into a major quest right away. Not everything is a fight or a puzzle followed by a reward. Because you have freedom to explore, there are things you'll miss first time round -- but it's a sandbox. You can come back and try later.

As Vulcanverse might be the last gamebooks I write, I'm hoping they'll eventually pick up more reviews. Not necessarily good ones, either. Though it's encouraging to get 5 stars, I'm just as interested in the negative reviews if they have thoughtful points to make. On Amazon you see books with tens of thousands of 4- and 5-star reviews, but any considered feedback is worth having. And from an author's point of view, all publicity is good publicity. 

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