Gamebook store

Friday, 10 June 2022

No new thing under the sun

I knew gamebooks dated back much further than Choose Your Own Adventure and Steve Jackson's Melee and Wizard solo games. I used to play educational logic "gamebooks" back in the early 1960s. But it turns out that "Alan George"'s Treasure Hunt not only anticipated all that by a further two decades (it was published in 1940) but also sort of pioneered the graphic novel gamebook genre that I thought Russ Nicholson and I had invented in the early '80s.

Much more up to date is a new(ish) open-world gamebook called Traquelero: A Quest for Happiness, by Othniel Poole. It seems pretty hard to get hold of, which is a shame as the concept sounds fascinating. No dice, no stats, just a character journey to explore. Effectively a walking sim in gamebook form? I'd like to try it and find out.

8 comments:

  1. "Treasure Hunt" is fascinating ! It's even a forerunner of videogames...

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    1. Yes! It actually anticipates the graphical adventure games of the '90s, not the text adventures of a decade earlier.

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  2. Yep, Traquelero: A Quest for Happiness, seems impossible to find. No bookstore, no library has it. You're sure it's not just a dream? ;)

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    1. Ooh, I like that idea almost more than the book itself. It's so meta :-)

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  3. Well, that really was a find of treasure and I enjoyed playing it! My wife and I are also "John & Jennifer", and so it is nice to realise that we are namesakes of the Adam and Eve of adventure game books. I am going to try to print the book off so that my daughter can play it on our Summer hols (in a place that also has a castle).

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    1. That explains why "Alan George" is a pseudonym, John. It's a clear case of time travel. You're going to go back in time and write that book, thus inventing the medium while inserting the names as a clue. It's the gamebook equivalent of the invention of Skynet.

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  4. Speaking of graphic gamebooks that are hard to find, I happened to wander into the Lifeline second hand books expo in Brisbane last week and came across The Haunted Castle by one Leo Hartas which (in this hemisphere at least) seems to go for well north of $150 on eBay.

    I was gobsmaked to find a second copy 5 minutes later.

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    1. What a great book that is. I can't remember if Leo recovered the publishing rights, but if you like his work be sure to take a look at wowthatsme.com.

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