Before you read this, why don't you read two excellent blog posts which partially or wholly talk about the smae topic of game vs book in gamebooks.
First, there is this one by Paul Gresty, author of Arcana Agency. And then there is this one by Grey Wizard, author of the Mysterious Path comic.
Back now? Let us continue.
So here we have gameBOOKs, gamebooks that place less emphasis on the game part and more emphasis on the book (or story) part. Interactive fiction falls into this category. What characterises a gameBOOK.
There may not be any victory criteria: Whilst some gameBOOKs have a clear objective for victory, some of them involve you jsut seeing where your choices will take the story.
More than one satisfying endings: You will probably live in most gameBOOK endings and these endings will have varying degrees of success. It may even be up for debate as to which ending is better. For example, in the CYOA book, The Race Forever, you could end up finding gold and becoming rich rather than winning the race.
Death is less likely: Whilst you might die in a gameBOOK, it does not happen as often as in GAMEbooks. There might be no hit point meter and most of the decisions you make won't be life threatening at all.
More backstory: These gamebooks have no problem defining your age, gender, career, outlook on life and many other facets to your persaonality. You may even get a name if you are lucky, so you are able to visualise your character.
Fewer stats: You may even have no stats in the case of CYOA books and the stats may not measure your hit points but rather your relationships with people (see Heroes Rise.)
Choices revolve around what you want the character to do or in which direction you want to take the story: GameBOOKS are very non linear because there is no objective to fulfil so you can take the story anywhere. Should I become a ninja or a pirate? Should I go to the party or play compuoter games? Also, because there are no victory criteria, there is less agonising over which decision is the 'right' decision. You can just sit back, decide to do what you want and see where the story takes you without fear of getting yourself killed.
Your character and NPCs are defined by their background, decisons and relationships rather than by stats: It is more about how the story unfolds than winning, losing or getting the most points.
It may not be in the second person: In some cases, you may not be playing a character but rather choosing how a story moves.
Examples of gameBOOKs: Choose Your Own Adventure, Life's Lottery, Choice of Games.
So there we are. As you probably expected, the game/book divide is more of a sliding scale than two categories. Next week, we can look at some gamebooks that are and see if they are more game or more book.
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