Choosing Our Own Adventures, Then and Now

If you were a kid during the ’80s and read any books at all, you probably read at least one Choose Your Own Adventure (CYOA), probably by either R.A. Montgomery or Edward Packard. And if you read one, you read more than one. They were addictive, candy for our brains, but also, they empowered us in a way that normal books did not. At key plot points, the reader got to make decisions that actually changed the course of the story. For example: “If you make a hasty retreat to your car, [upon being attacked by a bunch of monkeys] turn to page 29.” Alternatively, “If you decide that the chimpanzees are not as dangerous as they look and rush to give aid to the man, turn to page 3.” Many of us simply could not choose, or chose both, and so we read them twice, or thrice, or we simply read all of the endings, or we read the whole book with our fingers placed at various points so we could backtrack and try again if things didn’t go as hoped. For a lot of us, growing up as we did in our early-computer existences (remember Atari?), this was our first dose of “interactivity.” —Choosing Our Own Adventures, Then and Now – Entertainment – The Atlantic Wire.