Tuesday, April 17, 2012

April A to Z - O is for Own Adventure (as in Choose Your) - an interview with Christopher Liu


Ah yes, Choose Your Own Adventure.  Started in 1979 by R.A Montgomery, the series, like gamebooks in general has enjoyed a resurgence.  It is simpler than Fighting Fantasy and covers a huge range of scenarios from a race across Kenya to going back in time and helping Robin Hood to dealing with ghosts with your friends (sans dog) to looking for your lost horse.

As well as starting to sell more books, we now have Choose Your Own Adventure style programs for smartphones thanks to Christopher Liu, creator of Adventure Cow.  This websites allows people to design their own Choose Your Own Adventure style gamebooks that can be played on Android, iPhone or the web.  

Knowing that, I just had to interview Chris.  So here we go...

What was the first gamebook you read (that wasn't your own)?

I think I first read a CYOA of some kind. Possibly the Cave of Time, but who knows - it's been ages! :)

What is your favourite gamebook?

I don't play favorites. Yet.





What gamebooks/interactive fiction would you recommend to a newcomer to the genre?

The CYOA series is an easy start to the genre. If you're looking for something more sophisticated, Ringof Thieves has a version online that lets you keep track of dice and stats automatically. I've played it a couple of times.
If you want to play IF, I love Lost Pig. :)

Summarise what a gamebook is to a newcomer in 100 characters or fewer.

A gamebook is a game with a book instead of a controller.

Why are gamebooks great compared to games or books?

Gamebooks represent interactive entertainment at its roots. They're far more simple to design than complex games, but they can still capture that essential element that makes gaming fun.

Where did you come up with the idea for Adventure Cow?

I used to run a CYOA-by-mail game that got me interested in the genre. By the time I discovered DestinyQuest I realized there was something very interesting going on, and decided to run and run.

When it comes to writing a gamebook, what's the most important thing that you do?

I'm not too much of a gamebook writer, but I learn by playing other books and lots of practice.

What have you got coming up in terms of your gamebook projects?

Along with Adventure Cow (which lets you make your own gamebooks), we're starting a game making class for people who want to learn. Anyone's welcome to sign up.

Do you have any other sites besides your site/Twitter feed?

This is my main project at the moment.

What do you think the future of gamebooks is?

E-books represent a brand new toy for gamebooks to play with. The first personal computers started out as toys - who knows where we'll be in a year!

So there we go.  Go over to http://www.adventurecow.com/ and you could be writing your own interactive story in seconds.  Join the game making class forum here and follow Adventure Cow on Twitter here

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