In 1941, Argentinian author Jorge Luis Borges published the first book featuring decisions the reader could make to change the way the story ended through two different branching points that asked readers to flip to a particular page depending on which option they choose. Several other early game books were released over the years, but it wasn't until the late-70's that the genre exploded with several different series of varying complexity-- The most popular of which was undoubtedly Choose Your Own Adventure with over 200 titles that were almost always checked out of my local library.

Fighting Fantasy

Fighting Fantasy is a similar series that was released around the same time that distinguished itself from the rest of the game books by implementing a single player dice rolling system to determine the outcome of fights and other situations (like Advanced Dungeons & Dragons).

The first entry in the Fighting Fantasy family of books by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone hit the App Store recently and is a phenomenal fit for the iPhone. Fighting Fantasy: The Warlock of Firetop Mountain [$2.99] sends players on a treasure hunting quest to locate the treasure of a powerful warlock, who as you may have guessed, stashed it deep inside of Firetop Mountain.


Fighting Fantasy: The Warlock of Firetop Mountain

Throughout the journey players collect keys, fight orcs and dragons, and finally face the warlock himself. Getting to the end is easier said than done, and much like the game books of my childhood, The Warlock of Firetop Mountain is filled with sudden death and countless ways to make mistakes, even if you're rolling your dice well.

Gamebook Adventures

Even though Fighting Fantasy books have nearly a 30 year lead on the recently released Gamebook Adventures, the team at Tin Man Games have put together an equally remarkable and entirely original virtual game book for the iPhone. Gamebook Adventures 1: An Assassin in Orlandes [$4.99] is the first in of an up and coming game book series by author S.P. Osborne. Much like the Fighting Fantasy books, throughout the adventure you will need to use dice to determine which fork in the story you take by winning battles and succeeding in various challenges.


Gamebook Adventures 1: An Assassin in Orlandes

The premise of An Assassin in Orlandes involves an assassin who is on a killing spree eliminating the nobles of the city of Orlandes as a part of a massive conspiracy that is slowly revealed, assuming you make the right choices along the way. Gamebook Adventures features much better illustrations and dice animations, which honestly make very little difference in the overall experience since most of your time is actually spent reading.

Tin Man Games also released the following trailer:

Both titles play comparably and are both worth consideration, so if you're looking to try just one, simply pick the plot that most appeals to you. I'll be looking forward to new entires on the App Store from both series of books, and have my fingers crossed on both hands that we'll see iPad-optimized versions as both game books are practically begging for a bigger screen to be displayed on.

App Store Links:

  • JuniorJoeyJoeJoeShabadooIII

    Where can i get that badass glass skull dice holder from? Anyone?

    • shadowsfall

      I also want that badass skull

    • Redeye

      It's an empty bottle of Crystal Head Vodka, hawked by Dan Aykroyd. So. Go get your drink on and when you regain consciousness you'll have a badass skull.

  • JuniorJoeyJoeJoeShabadooIII

    Where can i get that badass glass skull dice holder from? Anyone?

    • shadowsfall

      I also want that badass skull

    • Redeye

      It's an empty bottle of Crystal Head Vodka, hawked by Dan Aykroyd. So. Go get your drink on and when you regain consciousness you'll have a badass skull.

  • Phil

    I'd love to see a game pack containing all the original Choose Your Own Adventure books with their original illlustrations and text.

    • Adams Immersive

      I used to like the one with the shopping mall at night. The bear always got me.

  • Phil

    I'd love to see a game pack containing all the original Choose Your Own Adventure books with their original illlustrations and text.

    • Adams Immersive

      I used to like the one with the shopping mall at night. The bear always got me.

  • Shadow0324

    I really like the trailer tries to be epic and its scrolling through a book.

    That said I'm totally getting the cheaper one.

  • Shadow0324

    I really like the trailer tries to be epic and its scrolling through a book.

    That said I'm totally getting the cheaper one.

  • araczynski

    i miss the lone wolf series :(

  • araczynski

    i miss the lone wolf series :(

  • kornalius

    Please don't forget myQuest http://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/myquest-rise-of-the-hunter/id327106169?mt=8 It is an amazing story, it has been out for a little while. It is polished and game play is great!

  • kornalius

    Please don't forget myQuest http://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/myquest-rise-of-the-hunter/id327106169?mt=8 It is an amazing story, it has been out for a little while. It is polished and game play is great!

  • Nonstickron

    I wish there was a word count or a page count or something. I'd like to know the books are beefier than a goosebumps novel. If one is 150 pages as a printed paperback and the other is 400, I think thats important info. Not sure how they would measure that for an iphone book though.

    • MidianGTX

      Well they're all real books, and it's obvious they're not kiddie-sized Goosebumps packages. It shouldn't be too hard to Google the title and get a page count if you're that worried about it.

  • Nonstickron

    I wish there was a word count or a page count or something. I'd like to know the books are beefier than a goosebumps novel. If one is 150 pages as a printed paperback and the other is 400, I think thats important info. Not sure how they would measure that for an iphone book though.

    • MidianGTX

      Well they're all real books, and it's obvious they're not kiddie-sized Goosebumps packages. It shouldn't be too hard to Google the title and get a page count if you're that worried about it.

  • MysteryBiro

    This is great. The production value is nice and high (much better than the cheaper ones), and the whole thing looks more polished. Will be checking this one out, makes a nice change for the bus to work!

  • MysteryBiro

    This is great. The production value is nice and high (much better than the cheaper ones), and the whole thing looks more polished. Will be checking this one out, makes a nice change for the bus to work!

  • Justin

    I have both of these and I have to admit they are both awesome. I have loved the Fighting Fantasy series for over 2 decades and this first release is nothing short of exactly what I wanted in an iPhone version and more are on the way!! Gamebook Adventures definitely feels like it has higher production values and is a wonderful app as well with enough gameplay and presentation differences to justify the purchase. Not to mention the story is very engaging and there is some great ambient music. All in all, you can't lose with either.

    Also, for those of you missing Lone Wolf, feel free to enjoy all of them with this link: http://www.projectaon.org/en/Main/Books

    • araczynski

      i keep going back to that link from time to time :)

      keep thinking i should do an iphone port of that and make it free, probably wouldn't be the most difficult of starting apps...

  • Justin

    I have both of these and I have to admit they are both awesome. I have loved the Fighting Fantasy series for over 2 decades and this first release is nothing short of exactly what I wanted in an iPhone version and more are on the way!! Gamebook Adventures definitely feels like it has higher production values and is a wonderful app as well with enough gameplay and presentation differences to justify the purchase. Not to mention the story is very engaging and there is some great ambient music. All in all, you can't lose with either.

    Also, for those of you missing Lone Wolf, feel free to enjoy all of them with this link: http://www.projectaon.org/en/Main/Books

    • araczynski

      i keep going back to that link from time to time :)

      keep thinking i should do an iphone port of that and make it free, probably wouldn't be the most difficult of starting apps...

  • venasque

    I have only played the Assassin one (well played Warlock back when it was a book) and I have to say I'm impressed. Few little features I like. The bookmark feature to save your place up to 3 times in the story. Also I like the achievements in game (now they just need to link those to OpenFient).

    If another developer made iPhone versions of Lone Wolf, allowing me to carry over my character from one book to the next (like you could back in the day) I would be so happy. I LOVED Lone Wolf as a kid.

  • venasque

    I have only played the Assassin one (well played Warlock back when it was a book) and I have to say I'm impressed. Few little features I like. The bookmark feature to save your place up to 3 times in the story. Also I like the achievements in game (now they just need to link those to OpenFient).

    If another developer made iPhone versions of Lone Wolf, allowing me to carry over my character from one book to the next (like you could back in the day) I would be so happy. I LOVED Lone Wolf as a kid.

  • MrMuesli

    Yay, there I was thinking this kind of game was a niche thing nowadays, but it seems loads of people enjoy them: ) I also have both, and each have there ups and downs (but mostly ups).
    Of course, Warlock is a direct copy and paste of the original book, and as such they didn't have to worry about proof reading it, something that Assassin needs to sort out still.
    Those bad ass Fighting Fantasy front covers are what stick in my mind the most from back in the day, so I'm pleased that Warlock has gone to effort of working in full colour versions of all their in game pictures. It's just a pity you can't equally bring up the full front cover, as it was such a feature of these books, and the work of some seriously talented British fantasy artists.
    I do prefer the interface of Assassin, which is more in line with what we have come to expect from iPhone games now. I think they cheaped out a bit on Warlock there tbh (I still can't find a way to read the games rules without starting a whole new game for example).
    As for the story, well, truth be told, Assassin is winning it for me. Warlock does often turn into a guided tour around corridors, T-Junctions and Cross-Junctions. So far that bit of tedium had been avoided in Assassin and I'm glad for it. For Warlock you really need to draw a map which is not such mobile gamer friendly thing I find. It's an unavoidable problem for the Fighting Fantasy series it would seem unless they can come up with a clever way to sort that out in game.
    Both the battle systems are different, and arguably Warlock has the upper hand there, but both work well.
    Both are a little buggy (but nothing serious). Warlock crashed on me a couple of times, and Assassin has a habit of not letting me look at the map.
    All in all, I'm really glad to see a revival of the old Gamebook, and on something as snappy as the iDevice. It was a major obsession of mine as a child in the eighties. I'm really bummed that I don't have the originals anymore.

  • MrMuesli

    Yay, there I was thinking this kind of game was a niche thing nowadays, but it seems loads of people enjoy them: ) I also have both, and each have there ups and downs (but mostly ups).
    Of course, Warlock is a direct copy and paste of the original book, and as such they didn't have to worry about proof reading it, something that Assassin needs to sort out still.
    Those bad ass Fighting Fantasy front covers are what stick in my mind the most from back in the day, so I'm pleased that Warlock has gone to effort of working in full colour versions of all their in game pictures. It's just a pity you can't equally bring up the full front cover, as it was such a feature of these books, and the work of some seriously talented British fantasy artists.
    I do prefer the interface of Assassin, which is more in line with what we have come to expect from iPhone games now. I think they cheaped out a bit on Warlock there tbh (I still can't find a way to read the games rules without starting a whole new game for example).
    As for the story, well, truth be told, Assassin is winning it for me. Warlock does often turn into a guided tour around corridors, T-Junctions and Cross-Junctions. So far that bit of tedium had been avoided in Assassin and I'm glad for it. For Warlock you really need to draw a map which is not such mobile gamer friendly thing I find. It's an unavoidable problem for the Fighting Fantasy series it would seem unless they can come up with a clever way to sort that out in game.
    Both the battle systems are different, and arguably Warlock has the upper hand there, but both work well.
    Both are a little buggy (but nothing serious). Warlock crashed on me a couple of times, and Assassin has a habit of not letting me look at the map.
    All in all, I'm really glad to see a revival of the old Gamebook, and on something as snappy as the iDevice. It was a major obsession of mine as a child in the eighties. I'm really bummed that I don't have the originals anymore.

  • chris

    i bought one of these.. and until it has a map.. im not interested in anymore of the series. i just can not pull out paper and start drawing a map every time i want too im afraid.

    chris.

    • Drtfyguhi

      Gamebook Adventures doesn't require a map. It has a world map on the main menu screen.

  • chris

    i bought one of these.. and until it has a map.. im not interested in anymore of the series. i just can not pull out paper and start drawing a map every time i want too im afraid.

    chris.

  • Pat

    This is how you can get the crystal skull.

    http://crystalheadvodka.com/

  • Pat

    This is how you can get the crystal skull.

    http://crystalheadvodka.com/

  • Gordon

    And Deathtrap Dungeon is coming out today !!!

  • Gordon

    And Deathtrap Dungeon is coming out today !!!

  • Bone

    I loved those old Fighting Fantasy books. And so far the treatment is perfect. That is, until I found myself fighting the skeletons in the boathouse and it kept on applying my damage to the one I already re-deaded. Suddenly I miss the old pencil and eraser and the ability to flip back a few pages. The originals didn't have bugs...

  • Bone

    I loved those old Fighting Fantasy books. And so far the treatment is perfect. That is, until I found myself fighting the skeletons in the boathouse and it kept on applying my damage to the one I already re-deaded. Suddenly I miss the old pencil and eraser and the ability to flip back a few pages. The originals didn't have bugs...

  • Jensrn

    I hope they come out with ipad versions soon

  • Jensrn

    I hope they come out with ipad versions soon