Here you go. A single serving tumblr celebrating the unhappy ending pages of Choose Your Own Adventure books. You Chose Wrong…
from Choose Your Own Adventure #19: Secret of the Pyramids, 1983
from Choose Your Own Adventure for Younger Readers #41: The Movie Mystery, 1987
If you don’t read Dinosaur Comics then you should. Don’t start with this one though. It’ll get you stuck in a mobius strip style infinite loop of perfect days with no resolution (unless you cheat).
Can we ever choose our own destination or are we just pawns in a grand game of chess at the hands of an omnipotent deity. Are your choices your choice? Or are they the inevitable product of nurture and nature colliding. It’s a question that literally keeps young theologians and philosophers up at night.
I’m not actually sure where this originally came from – it just popped up in deli.ci.ous. But it made me laugh.
Speaking of Choose Your Own Adventure books – Simone and her son Joel have produced a Choose Your Own Adventure blog. Check it out.
You should also check out Joel’s poetry if you have a moment…
I loved Choose Your Own Adventure books as a young’un. Though, being a Campbell, I was a pretty bad cheat and used to do them backwards after a couple of frustrating deaths.
Perhaps I would have made better choices had I studied the structure of the books in depth. Like this person has.
In scanning over the distribution of colors in this plot, one clear pattern is a the gradual decline in the number of endings. The earliest books (in the top row) are awash in reds and oranges, with a healthy number of ‘winning’ endings mixed in. Later cyoa books tended to favor a single ‘best’ ending (see CYOA 44 & 53).
And here’s something I did not know, and indeed it contains a life lesson for those of us who like to cheat…
The one outlier is the catastrophic ending seen in the third row from the bottom. This was a punishment page that could only be reached by cheating. Unlike most other endings in the book it does not offer to let you continue the story from a few pages back but instead calls you a cheater and leaves you with no choice but to start over from the beginning.
Apparently the books evolved to become more difficult over time. As indicated by this graph…
Read the rest of the research. It’s interesting.
I grew up on Choose Your Own Adventure books. But I used to cheat. I’d read them in reverse, because I didn’t want to die. It turns out that’s the wisest approach. Because the writers want you to die. Statistically speaking. This guy named Michael Niggel put together a flow chart of a typical Choose Your Own Adventure novel. It looks like this.
You can see a high quality PDF here.