Before I kickstart my very first blog post, I’d like to congratulate the R.AGE team on its landmark revamp.
For the record (and just to illustrate how Herculean the effort really was), this new look is really more than a funkier and snazzier look, and took months to pull off.
Kudos to R.AGE, and thanks for letting yours truly tag along for the ride. (Yeap, another disclaimer of sorts there: I’m privileged enough to be given the honour of supporting the R.AGE team on a part-time basis. Therefore the accolades truly belongs to the brains behind this, namely Ivy, Niki and the rest of the team!)
Some of you (I’m being realistic here 😉 might read about the inspiration that gave rise to Cards & Boards, in tomorrow’s all-new R.AGE section in StarTwo (make sure to check it out).
For that article, I wrote about how gamebooks helped seed my curiosity in gaming. Back in the 1980s, I played Joe Dever’s Lone Wolf series as well as the Ian Livingstone/Steve Jackson Fighting Fantasy series.
A number of you are probably a little confused on how gamebooks actually work: gamebooks are printed and sold as tradepaperback novels, except that you do not read them in page order, from start to finish, like you normally do.
Instead, you start at the first entry (usually “1”), then from there, follow the path as directed in that first entry. For example, the end of the first entry might give you two or more entry options – you simply turn to that entry number, and continue along.
Gamebooks are self-contained adventures, so you’ll need to do some elementary paperwork. All of them have you playing some hero / persona that has distinct “stats” such as “Endurance” / “Hit Points”, “Combat Skill”, “Psychic Powers” as well as special items, weapons, armor and the like.
The gamebook phenomenon was in full-swing back in the 1980s, and tapered off as the 1990s went by, with the advent of computer and online gaming, as well as TCGs (trading card games).
The good news is that it’s making a mini-resurgence of sorts, as the Fighting Fantasy series is currently reprinted and available for sale (look for them in the teenage sections of your favourite local bookstores). Mongoose Publishing (http://bit.ly/3lhqTW) also started reprinting the Lone Wolf books beginning last year – they come with all-new artwork, and improved text, apparently.
So to round off my inaugural blog post, I’d like to share with you the Project Aon link, which houses the bulk of Joe Dever’s iconic gamebooks. In 1999, Dever decided to donate the rights to publish his works to the said non-profit organization. Click here (http://bit.ly/srwKx) to start.
I’d recommend starting with the very first “Kai” adventure, “Flight from the Dark” – moving down the list helps you accumulate items that will serve you well in succeeding books. Hint hint!
Tell us what you think!