Hello all! I'll be doing an April A to Z reflections post next week, but for the moment, I want to do some analysis from all my lovely interviewees from this year's April A to Z. I asked all of them what spoils a gamebook for them. the reason I did this is to make sure that future gamebooks do not get spoiled by something despite being very good otherwise. In some cases, it could just be one small thing that could ruin a gamebook. My post is bought on by this post on Facebook where Richard Penwarden listed a lot of things that could be in gamebooks and asked us what we would like the most. This also opened up discussion for what people did not like in gamebooks. So, here is a chance for people to say what we should never do in a gamebook. However, there are some caveats:
1) There will always be an exception to every rule. there will always be someone who likes something that 99.9% of the audience hate. In these cases, it will be interesting to see why, just in case we are writing a gamebook where the rare situation for doing something that everyone normally hates should be done.
2) Avoiding doing all the main mistakes that you can make in gamebooks will not necessarily lead to a great gamebook, merely a functional one that doesn't annoy anyone. It will need something that makes it stand out as well.
Put your pet peeves in the comments below. There are some responses here to get you going:
Instant death paragraphs with no warning.
Poor spelling, punctuation and links.
Boring sequences/poor plot/2d characters
Unfairness/difficulty/improbable dice rolls needed to win
Inconsistencies in the world (sometimes referred to as a Schrodinger's gamebook where your choice changes the situation)
Lots of equipment lists/writing
Having to replay large sections of the book (digital)
Choices that don't matter
Being told what to think or feel
Rules that aren't explained
Gamebooks that should be novels