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The Blatherings Of A Blitherer

If you drink the wine, turn to page 85!

November11

I was born in 1979 which means “choose your own adventure” books were very available and a pretty big part of my youthful reading1. I totally used to cheat while reading them. I’d stick my finger in the choice page and look ahead to the other options, keeping track of what led where, and skim until I got to the good ending. Or I’d find the good ending, back track, and read that way. I hated the “bad” endings, I always felt like I’d lost or failed or something. And I really enjoyed those books! I’ve kicked around the idea of writing a CYOA web page with friends, which should be easy to do with HTML, you know? Just a bunch of links and pages etc. But I’m pretty lazy so nothing ever came of that (although I did do a few madlibs style things once upon a time).

So really, it should come as no surprise that I’m currently really really into Echo Bazaar, a turn-based browser RPG in which you advance through both “storylets” (various story lines that have different actions and outcomes) and cards (which, again, have different actions and outcomes). When you start the game, you’re a newcomer to a Victorian London of nightmares, one that has been snatched away from the surface world and now resides someplace close to Hell. You start out as a newcomer to this strange land and have to bust out of prison. Once free, you have to clothe yourself, find lodgings, and explore the new world you’re in. And there is a lot to explore.

I’m really in love with world building, and this game has it in spades. There’s different areas/neighborhoods of the city, different social classes, history and mythology, non-human denizens. Players can be driven mad by Lovecraftian nightmares, be so outre and scandalous they’re exiled, get so hurt they almost die and have to drag themselves back from the River Styx, and get arrested and land back in jail. The “wrong” choices aren’t really failures– they’re different avenues for adventure and exploration, different ways of seeing the creativity and rich storytelling that imbue the game.

If you play Echo Bazaar using twitter, please follow me– I’m brigidkeely on there. It’s fun!

  1. Ellen Kushner wrote CYOA books, several of which I read, so my love for her goes back decades apparently.

Pinterest

November9

I’ve recently joined pinterest. Does anybody else use this? Hook me up with your boards! Drop some links! Let me see what you’re doing with this!

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