Diving into Digital Fiction: Some IF and CYOA

Photo courtesy: enersauce on flickrcc

Photo courtesy: enersauce on flickrcc

The line between digital fiction, fiction and gaming is very fuzzy indeed. Choose Your Own Adventure books (CYOA) have always been popular in primary school libraries and books like Encyclopedia Brown adventures provided a little interactivity. So it was not surprising to see that there was so much out there in these areas. Interesting that they are all branded as games not stories.

Choice of … series

This site has several genres of story that  follow the traditional ‘choose your own adventure’ format. I expect it will be blocked at school, but I should be able to request that it be unblocked. So far I’ve played:

Choice of Broadsides

Multiple-choice swashbuckling naval adventure, in the spirit of C. S. Forester’s Hornblower or Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin books, with a dash of Jane Austen.

It was fun being able to choose an all woman crew for the ship – a little gender equality goes down well with me. And one really has to pay attention to details in this game – your crew depends upon you. This I’ll definitely include for the Year 8’s.

Choice of the Vampire

I’m not a big fan of the vampire/horror genre but this is well-written and takes place in ah historic setting so offers a bit more than Twilight-type stories.

Begin your two-hundred year journey as a vampire in New Orleans, 1815; choose whether you will seek love, power or redemption as you negotiate the growing-pains of the young Republic.

Choice of Romance by Heather Albano

Play as a young aristocrat who comes to court looking for love… and catches the monarch’s eye. Will you find true love? Gain a crown? Lose your head? Choice of Romance is a text-based multiple choice game of romance, deception and court intrigue.

CYOA stories are written from the second person point of view (which takes a bit of getting used to) , and Choice of Romance is on par with some of the lighter pulp romance (think Georgette Heyer, Mills and Boon) Because I’m planning to share with year 8’s I had to work my way through this clicking on the ‘naughtiest’ options to see how much sex might be included. It is very light on; I saw it described as ‘low steam factor’ on another site – I ended up sleeping with the King (how does one say ‘no’ to the King?) but it was described only as ‘beyond my wildest dreams’.

PS Of Note: it is possible to choose a same sex option for this story. Iam interested to see that it is an example of inclusive fiction rather than exclusive , but am undecided at this stage whether the teacher will be comfortable with the mention of sex  of any sort in the story given the age group.

I’ve just discovered that there is also the possibility of putting these stories on hand-held devises for a low cost.

Lost Pig

Another adventure game, described on its site as:

… a text adventure game ( also known as “Interactive Fiction”) about an orc named Grunk and a pig who would much prefer to remain lost. The story is told entirely from Grunk’s perspective, in his own words (just words – no pictures), so the player gets to experience the world through Grunk’s unique point of view.

This really did feel more like a game than a story but I will make it available for students as an option to explore from home. It needs specific game software loaded to play it.

Thrilling Tales of the Downright Unusual: Interactive Illustrated Stories from Retropolis and Beyond

This website has plenty of eye appeal and humour, it  is retro-sci-fi at its quirkiest and its fun to explore all the other parts of the website. The site  has two kinds of stories:  the first are interactive, the second are non-interactive, serial stories with the current one having updates added every Monday and Thursday. As well as the story, the characters carry along with them items such as ID cards that give more back-story when you click on them.

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