Your adventure ends here

My friend Jeff Simmermon points us to a Tumblr of the "death-pages" from Choose Your Own Adventure books, popular in the 1980s.

"I recognized some of the Interplanetary Spy ones from my own childhood, too," Jeff says.



  1.  I would think there were plenty of adventures to be had in the realm of timeless existence (and I’m assuming the author was not referring to junior high school nor the waiting area at a public utility).  However, as a slave of an ancient evil, I’m not sure I could choose from among them.

    1.  This raises a question – if it lives in the realm of timeless existence, how could the evil be ancient?

      (bong hit sound)

  2. back in the olden dayes when I transitioned from Mosaic to Netscape Navigator, every web site was really cool no matter what the content was (well I thought it was cool)
    I’m poking around and somehow find this site written by a woman scorned. Now she hates all men and tells me that if I am looking at the page and I am a man, she has the power to kill me simply by clicking a link. 
    She posts the link and dares me to click it. Certain death awaits.

    I remember pausing before clicking the link, thinking “does this person know something about the web that I don’t?  What actually happens when I click the link?”
    Is there some way this could kill me or at least harm me in any way?  Maybe it will kill my computer? (a Mac)

    I gather the courage to click on the link and the screen goes black, there is some tiny white type in the center.  It says…”OK, now you’re dead”

    I was so disappointed.

  3. Ah, choose your own adventure books. I lost my best friend in 4th grade over one of those. I lent a Dungeons and Dragons-style one to him. His mother found it, decided it was satanic, and I was evil and a bad influence, and forbade him from ever even talking to me again. 
    Sadly in life you can’t just turn the pages back and pick a different choice. 

  4. I LOVED those books. Even better where the ones you could roll dice to defeat the monsters. Space Assassin by Steve Jackson Games was one of my favorites.

    Do they still make CYOA books anymore? If not – why?

    1. I also loved the hell out of these.  It does appear that the series was “relaunched” a few years back:

      Edited to add: There are some eBook versions of some of them, available on iTunes. I just peed a little out of excitement.

    2. Yes they still make them.  My 9-year-old son started bringing them home from school a few months ago.  I have to admit that I read through a couple of them, and died several times.

    3. A minor aside–the Steve Jackson who wrote the Fighting Fantasy series of books is not the same man as the Steve Jackson who founded Steve Jackson Games.  The FF author is one of the founders of Games Workshop and Lionhead Studios.

      1. It’s actually more confusing than that. While the UK Steve Jackson wrote *most* of the Fighting Fantasy books listed as being by “Steve Jackson”, at least one of them (Scorpion Swamp) actually *is* by the US Steve Jackson — probably the only example of somebody ghostwriting under their *own* name — the two Steve Jacksons knew each other — the world of 1980s gaming wasn’t that large.

        1. Hah, that’s bizarre.  While I’m totally unsurprised they knew each other, I did not know the American Steve was involved at all.

    4. Actually, Ian Livingstone (of fighting Fantasy fame) just wrote a new one called Blood of the Zombies (out in like a month or so) and there are a few indie game devs who are creating all new CYOA style books.  Google ‘Gamebook Adventures’ and ‘Choice of Games’.

      The Gamebook Adventures guys are also doing the digital version of the new Fighting Fantasy book.

      Disclosure: I am on of the guys who develop Gamebook Adventures.  We are huge CYOA gamebook fans :-)

      1. There’s definitely a resurgence of gamebooks these days. The original Choose Your Own Adventure was relaunched in 2005 by Chooseco, available at

        Also with full disclosure, I’m the series editor for a new ‘easy reader’ version of the original CYOA. Our series is adapted for English language learners, out from McGraw-Hill Asia. Learn English while meeting a gruesome fate! :-P

  5. Even though it was a “happy” ending, one of my favorites from the choose-your-own-adventure book The Cave Of Time was coming out into an earlier time period and settling down. It concluded, “You die a few years before you are born.”

    Before I became a Doctor Who addict that introduced me to the concept of a “time loop”, which fascinated and haunted me.

    And then there were Steve Jackson’s Sorcery! books. I have a cousin to whom I’ll be eternally grateful for introducing me to those. 

  6. I remember doing book reports in the fourth grade using Choose Your Own Adventure books. The teacher didn’t realize that I was only reading portions of the book but still getting to the end. I was even lazy as a kid.

  7. OMG I’d completely forgotten about Interplanetary Spy.  I know I had all those books as a kid along with a broad variety of CYOA books and gamebooks.

    I still kind of miss Lone Wolf.

  8. Reminds me of the site

    “You have no friends”

    “This action is no longer possible”

    “There is nothing here to do”


  9. Loved these books as a kid.  Also, RIP Donald Sobol, author of the Encyclopedia Brown books… another series that I loved in my youth (wistful sigh).

  10. Somewhere at my parent’s house there is a copy of Endless Quest #1, Dungeon of Dread. Loved that book.

    I remember trying the Jackson/Livingstone ones a few times from the library, but never really getting into the whole dice rolling thing so much.

    I also had a copy of Legends of Skyfall: The Black Pyramid – I think that one used coin tosses instead. I also remember hating it and dying repeatedly crossing the sodding desert right at the start.

  11. Weird.  This was the exact same thing they told me at a Tea Party Rally I went to one time as a dare.

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