We're not sure if we have the power to do this, but Grab It is seeking international recognition for the month of August to be declared Gamebook Month. I'm a man on a mission and because I love gamebooks, I want people everywhere to share my passion. So why not dedicate August to gamebooks!
But let's address that burning question bubbling away in the minds of those of you who didn't live through the eighties - what exactly is a gamebook? At the broadest level, they are simply works of fiction that involve the reader by allowing them to make choices which effect the story progression. Traditional choose-your-own adventure stories fall into this category. Another popular variation, which shot to prominence during the 1980s, is the role-playing gamebook, which involves the use of a rules manual; essentially a single player version of Dungeons and Dragons. Finally, the adventure gamebook often combines a complex branching narrative with a more action oriented role-playing system, which may be unique to that particular gamebook.
The popularity of physical gamebooks hit dizzying heights in the 1980s, with legendary authors appearing on the scene like Ian Livingstone, Joe Dever and Steve Jackson. Over the ensuing few decades, the popularity of gamebooks waxed and waned. But, over the past few years a number of iOS developers have made it their mission to revive the gamebook genre, delivering it to a modern audience in digital form.
So that's one question answered. But I can see you forming the next question in your mouth. Why should you care about digital gamebooks? Well, that's a question we hope to answer over the coming month. But, in short, gamebooks are unlike anything you have ever experienced. With the player being given the reigns to drive the story, the choices you make in pushing the narrative forward are made to feel meaningful. When you throw rich and exciting plots into the mix, morally hazy decisions to be made and a robust touchscreen interface, it makes for some damn good gaming.
To kick off the month, gamebook developer inkle has just released 80 Days, an adaptation of Jules Verne's classic novel Around The World In 80 Days. Be sure to read our review here, because 80 Days is one of the best gamebook experiences out in the wild.
Over the next few weeks we'll be bringing you a variety of interesting articles relating to gamebooks, from reviews to interviews to opinion articles. You'll definitely also want to check out our just released Episode 6 of Grab It, which has an exclusive feature with gamebook developer Tin Man Games on how it has reinvigorated the genre for the digital generation, as well as a look at the top 10 gamebooks on iPad.
So sit back, enjoy the ride and we hope you discover a new gem or two to add to your collection.
- 80 Days
- Grab It Episode 6