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"Choose Your Own Adventure" On Your iPhone 135

Posted by samzenpus
from the turn-to-page-14 dept.
If you spent a good portion of your childhood reading the classic "Choose Your Own Adventure" books, you'll be glad to know that you can soon waste countless hours at work turning to random pages on your iPhone. Edward Packard, one of the original authors of the series, has helped create an app called U-Ventures which uses special effects to create a story in the traditional Choose Your Own Adventure format. From the article: "The first U-Venture is a sort of a sequel to a classic title, The Cave of Time. In 'Return to the Cave of Time,' the U-Venture, 'you go back in the cave — you don't have a choice on that,' Packard tells NPR's Neal Conan. But from that point on, the reader chooses her own course."
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"Choose Your Own Adventure" On Your iPhone

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  • Oh, really (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrHanky (141717) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @05:06AM (#33285668) Homepage Journal

    Is anything so simple and trivial that it can be done in basic HTML suddenly news when you can add the words "on the iPhone"? Still, after all these years? It's as if Slashdot has a spam filter that is automatically bypassed by the phrase.

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Wait till you see the next article - a nostalgic snake game for the iphone done *entirely in JavaScript*. The app actually opens a browser for you. And the web page is public [patorjk.com]. But there's now an app that opens that web page FOR you.

      Now that's revolutionary.

    • by rxan (1424721)
      I call slashvertisement.
    • Re:Oh, really (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Psaakyrn (838406) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @05:54AM (#33285874)
      Maybe because it's already done? http://www.writing.com/main/list_items/num_type/5000 [writing.com]
      • by LingNoi (1066278)

        This is pretty cool and something I've never considered getting into before however I don't think your linked site goes far enough.

        Imagine a site that not only allowed you to collaborate on interactive stories but also added inventory, hit points, etc. Basically pre-recorded D&D in text form. Anything out there similar to that?

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Homr Zodyssey (905161)

          Try "Kingdom of Loathing".

          http://www.kingdomofloathing.com./ [www.kingdo...athing.com]

        • Imagine a site that not only allowed you to collaborate on interactive stories but also added inventory, hit points, etc. Basically pre-recorded D&D in text form. Anything out there similar to that?

          Most MUDs? Granted, they won't all meet your personal standard of what's close enough to that description, but there's enough variety out there that at least one should.

        • Project Aon is an effort to post the old Lone Wolf game books to the webpage medium...

          http://www.projectaon.org/en/Main/Home [projectaon.org]

          I'm also seeing similar book apps in the App Store which give the player a chance to pick starting stats to influence gameplay progression. (One I found involved the player RPing as a dragon, hoarding treasure and defending territory from other dragons and human kings and wizards. I forgot the name, though.)

    • I truly don't understand how this is "news for nerds, stuff that matters". Oh wait, it's for the iPhone. Really? I mean honestly...this is so innovative and new?
    • Re:Oh, really (Score:4, Insightful)

      by hal2814 (725639) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @09:14AM (#33286954)

      What's really sad is that Choose Your Own Adventure books have been available ever since the iPhone got the Kindle app. So this isn't even something new to the iPhone.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by mark72005 (1233572)
        Sadly, you were holding the phone wrong as you made that fateful choice. You realize your life is over as you see the sea monster's jaws open and all goes black.

                                                                                              THE END
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Gulthek (12570)

      It's not just that these new books are for the iPhone, but that it's Edward Packard writing them.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MrHanky (141717)

        Wrong. Slashdot would never have mentioned it if he did it for any other medium. Ever looked at the Apple section? Of course you have -- you can't block it from the front page (just like Idle). It's just an endless stream of raw advertising sewage. All just to keep Apple relevant, and Slashdot irrelevant.

        • by abigor (540274)

          If you switch back to the Classic view, you can block Apple, Idle, Your Rights Online, etc. With the Dynamic index, so far as I can tell you can only block "editors" (useful for kdawson stories). Am I missing something, or is the Classic view actually more functional than the Dynamic one in this regard?

        • by Gulthek (12570)

          Crimminy, you read an slashdot article about "Choose Your Own Adventure" and don't know who Edward Packard is? Did you just open it up to post this rant?

    • by williamhb (758070)

      Is anything so simple and trivial that it can be done in basic HTML suddenly news when you can add the words "on the iPhone"?

      But the iPhone let them add a few extra features over just plain HTML. If you hold don't hold the iPhone exactly right, you get eaten by a grue.

    • by tkohler (806572)
      It would be more interesting if the (i)Phone gave you options in real life. E.g., "You had a fight with your girlfriend. Do you 1.)Post a rant on Facebook (click here) or 2.) Order her flowers (click here). Each click would perform the request (post a rant or buy flowers) and lead you to the next step in your adventure. Your entire life could be driven by phone-led decisions about what to do (and buy)! Do you: 1.) Mod up (click here) 2.) Wish you had a girlfriend instead (click here)
    • by mdwh2 (535323)

      Indeed. Nothing beats the Access this webpage On The Iphone [slashdot.org] story - although this story is basically "You can run this app On The Iphone", which comes pretty close.

      Using phones to access the web or run apps stopped being impressive around 2003, and could be done even by dirt cheap "feature" phones by 2005. But now in 2010 with all the Iphone hype, it's like we've gone backwards technologically in terms of phone expectations. Next thing you know, Apple users will be pleased if they can even make a phone call

  • Well fuck... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by h4rm0ny (722443) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @05:07AM (#33285680) Journal

    I'm writing some text adventures for iPhone and Android at the moment. Beaten to market by a few months! Ah well, it's a pretty obvious update to the old books. I imagine we'll see a lot of these. They can be pretty fun.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Ten years ago who would have believed Slashdot would turn into an Apple PR/SPAM site?

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      If it works for them find your inner Microsoft and clone the look and feel.
      If they dont get the look and feel right, find your inner Linux and make it work.
      Dont do a Google and keep MACS.
      Soon you will be rich like Jobs.
      Dont Wozniak any aircraft.
    • by delinear (991444)
      The books are better. You could read backwards to figure out the page numbers you'd need to take to "win", then read the adventure forwards. I can't see how that would work on the iPhone.
  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot&hackish,org> on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @05:11AM (#33285696)

    The thing that made choose-your-own-adventure books interesting was essentially hacking a limited notion of interactivity into a non-interactive medium, by asking users to manually enact GOTOs. But on a computer, we have interaction sort of built in, so the hack is uninteresting. Sure, you can still do it, and people might still like reading them, but it's not really its own category of thing, and we've had it forever. You can do it with a set of HTML pages linked to each other, or before that, with hypercard pages, and people actually did so, a long time ago [wikipedia.org], and did it more interestingly.

    • by cappp (1822388) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @05:23AM (#33285748)
      Yup. I've been rereading the old Lone Wolf gamebooks over at Project Aon [projectaon.org] which use the hypertext route really well. They've got a couple programs which let you run the books after download, all permitted under license of course, the one I'm enjoying using the most is Seventh Sense [projectaon.org]. It's a nice way of cutting down on the annoyances of using a book - keeping track of the math and the rules, losing your place - but there's something to be said for the charm of doing it oldschool.
      • Wow, I haven't heard anything about those books in years (decades, even).

        Awesome site. Thank you.

        • by cappp (1822388)
          Yeah I was suprised too, made for a great way to burn through a Saturday. Apparently they've recently been re-released and partially rewritten by the author (the first book is now 450 pages and the origin story retooled for instance). I haven't given the new ones a look yet but the info can be found here [mongoosepublishing.com].
      • by zoward (188110)

        Cool - I'm going to have to burn some time on this after work. Thanks for the reference!

      • by LanMan04 (790429)

        Wow, I haven't read a Lone Wolf book since 1994 or so. Good times!

        I got inspired by Lone Wolf and created a Hypercard program (1992, I was 12 at the time) that served as a framework for creating (and then playing) those types of books.

        For creating the books, it had a nice branching builder that let you input text/images/sounds for each page, then you could indicate which branch went where, input more text/images/sounds, insert battles and encounters, etc. It also supported a "plug-in" structure where you

    • by h4rm0ny (722443)

      There's nothing special about it. It's just a new medium for an old idea. But if the idea is still good then its not without value. It may not make it much of an IT story though, I grant you.
    • by bcmm (768152) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @06:35AM (#33286040)

      The thing that made choose-your-own-adventure books interesting was essentially hacking a limited notion of interactivity into a non-interactive medium

      And the iPhone is all about hacking a limited notion of interactivity into a fundamentally completely interactive medium...

    • by deniable (76198)
      I remember when I was bored back in the '90s and I thought about doing this on the voice-mail / ACD / whatever system at work. The only problem was that I didn't want to have to read the entire book into the system. I'm surprised nobody else has done it.
    • Indeed:

      Choose Your Own Adventure book as directed graph [seanmichaelragan.com]

      I have this hanging on the wall of my cube.

  • by tacarat (696339) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @05:22AM (#33285738) Journal

    Mr. PACKARD: Well, we have a bookmark feature. So, for instance, if you get to a choice and - you can bookmark that page. And then if you go on, you make your choice and you go on to various other adventures and you finally come to an ending, but you want to see what would have happened if you go and made the other choice, you can go back there. But otherwise, you know, you get to the end of the story. We don't want to make it - we didn't want to make it so you just could flip back and forth aimlessly like some kind of computer game. We wanted to make it where there's a real story, and it goes on and on surprisingly long and - or usually, unless you come to a bad ending.

    Oh good. I was worried there wouldn't be a way to do this. I vaguely remembering keeping two to three fingers firmly inserted in various sections of the book to backtrack if I made bad choices. I wonder if my imaginary /. girlfriend appreciates what I learned by doing this in the 3rd grade >.>

    • by dangitman (862676)

      I wonder if my imaginary /. girlfriend appreciates what I learned by doing this in the 3rd grade

      What are you talking about? There are no imaginary girls on slashdot.

    • Personally I’d just prefer a working “Back” button. Sort of like a regular browser would have if this whole thing were implemented in HTML and hyperlinks... hint hint.

    • by Achra (846023)

      We wanted to make it where there's a real story, and it goes on and on surprisingly long and - or usually, unless you come to a bad ending.

      I seem to recall that in the books, nearly all choices resulted in "bad endings". That is to say, they were a page at the END of the book and only one page long. I always thought that these books could have really used a page shuffling before publishing, because you easily get used to thinking, "Ok, I'm on page 14. Choice one leads to page 15. Choice two leads to page 387. I'll go ahead and put a finger in page 14 [nod to parent], and read page 387, and then head back to page 15."

  • by jewishbaconzombies (1861376) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @05:49AM (#33285856)
    Get Frotz for the iPhone or iPad, and play real interactive fiction instead. The interface could use some help in the way it gets stories in / out, but I've been (re)-enjoying my infocom collection from my old "lost treasures of infocom" CDs on my mobile devices just fine (hint : keep safari handy and bookmark the support docs).
    • by Gulthek (12570)

      Folks should definitely check out that implementation of the z-machine. It's build in story search/downloading is just fantastic. Now everyone download and play "Blue Chairs", "Photopia", and "Spider and Web".

      For starters.

      • by Achra (846023)

        Folks should definitely check out that implementation of the z-machine. It's build in story search/downloading is just fantastic. Now everyone download and play "Blue Chairs", "Photopia", and "Spider and Web".

        For starters.

        The parent is talking about past IF (Interactive Fiction) Competition winners. The IF Competition has been running for more than 10 years and has brought some really impressive pieces of IF to the world's attention. http://www.ifcomp.org/ [ifcomp.org]

  • Of course, you could just get Fabled Lands [sourceforge.net], which is as sandbox'y as those "Choose Your Own Adventure" books can get. No idea if java runs on the iStuff though.
    • by Gilmoure (18428)

      No idea if java runs on the iStuff though.

      I thought Jobs had decided that Java wouldn't run on the iPhone because it's too flakey and insecure. Has this changed?

  • by mccalli (323026) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @07:20AM (#33286192) Homepage
    The Warlock of Firetop Mountain and Deathtrap Dungeon are out in the iPhone now. I believe Citadel of Chaos is too, not entirely sure.

    I have the Warlock of Firetop Mountain, and the second Creature of Havoc comes out I'll be buying that one too.

    Cheers,
    Ian
    • by PylonHead (61401)

      Hah, I bought the Deathtrap Dungeon app. Truly a masochistic book if ever there was one. I must have died thirty or forty times before I finally got through.

  • I'm torn, here. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ultraexactzz (546422) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @08:02AM (#33286364) Journal
    On the one hand, this seems to be a simple and trivial app that could easily have been done with HTML. On the other hand, Edward Packard is an absolute master of the format. I can't imagine Hyperspace will have held up over the decades, but I still have the urge to track down my copy.
  • Can't spell, and your creativity ends at having an amusing background on your lock screen? There's an app for that.
    • by delinear (991444)
      That's one way of looking at it - for me being really young and being able to determine the course of the adventure I was reading was great and definitely a gateway drug for RPGs. I'll bet a lot of people got into gaming along the same route. I can't imagine they'd hold up particularly well as an adult (I wouldn't have the patience to re-read the story a dozen times to see the different endings, I'd rather read one story done well) and I'm not sure the young 'uns today would have the patience for them at al
  • I liked the FMV ones like silent steel. But alot of the other ones sucked real bad.

    Does any one have a iso of all 3 disks of Flash Traffic: City of Angels?

  • Choice? Oh man. Steve Jobs isn't going to like this.
  • I only ever made it through 2 of those books in my youth because that's all I could afford, but I loved the RPG aspect of the book over CYOA books (a favorite of mine when I was even younger).

  • xyzzy !!
  • I'm on my own "choose your adventure" story. It is sometimes called "real life." ;)

  • Personally I loved the "Choose You Own Adventure" books as a kid. I just wish there was one of these books based on modern office life:

    Your boss decides to rip you a new one.

    Turn to page 50 to deny you manhood, tuck you tail between your legs and take it like a $10 hooker

    Turn to page 69 to drop kick him in the chest and set his desk on fire.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by delinear (991444)

      Unfortunately real office life isn't nearly as exciting as the books:

      Page 50: You deny your manhood. In return you get a foot on the fast track ladder for promotion but you never make it to the top without the right connections or nobby background. On your deathbed you regret that you lived your life as a worm and not a lion.

      Page 69: You drop kick your boss and set his desk alight! Reliving the two minute thrill of it gets you through the first week of your seven year jail sentence. Eventually you sink into a downward spiral of self-destructive behaviour.

  • I understand it's popular in some cities like New York and San Francisco.

    I hear it's called "Get a Decent Signal Adventure."

    The problem is no matter how many times you go back, the story ends the same way. You're dead.

    Rack me.

  • If all I can do is follow the links, how I will get to the good ending of Inside UFO 54-40?
  • by Beardydog (716221)
    Remember the movie Big? His huge, genius idea at the end of the movie that blows everyone away is a computerized comic book that lets kids choose their own adventure. He and the woman he slept with (in spite of the fact that he was actually 14... Somehow I don't think that would have flown in "13 Going On 30") claimed it would cost about 18 dollars. I don't know if they meant "per cartridge", and that the actual game system would cost about 1000 dollars, but I've always been pretty offended by the film's im
  • I just watched Big for the first time in like a decade or two, and they totally had this idea in there. Funny to see this coming out in the 21st century instead of hoverboards... I'd love to see that iPad app. Strap one iPad to each foot and go!

  • Isnt (Score:2, Funny)

    by SnarfQuest (469614)

    Haven't they had one of these available for a long time. An adventure that only a small percentage can ever make it through to the end. I think they call it "customer service".

  • Here is Mario in Choose Your Own Adventure Format:

    Choose Your Own Adventure World 1-1 [destructoid.com]

Today's scientific question is: What in the world is electricity? And where does it go after it leaves the toaster? -- Dave Barry, "What is Electricity?"

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