Well folks, a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I was busy writing something in a brand-new medium, but I couldn’t reveal what it was until it was ready.
Good news! It’s ready :)
Instead of being your ordinary linear story with a beginning, middle, and end, my new story exists in multiple parallel universes. How cool is that? And before you think I’ve lost my mind, I got the idea 30 years ago when I first read a Choose Your Own Adventure (CYOA) book.
In a CYOA book, you read a page or two and then are faced with a choice: turn left and open the door OR turn right and head down the hallway? In the original books, if you chose to turn left, you’d turn to page 173 and if you turned right, you’d go to page 24. Therefore, in a completely non-digital paper format, ONE book actually contained MULTIPLE stories. Pretty cool, eh?
I thought so. Later, when computer games supplanted CYOA paper books, games like Colossal Cave Adventure (and Zork) took it to the next level – now you could “roam around” inside a text-built story world using typed commands instead of flipping to different pages.
Well, fast forward to 2016, and there have literally been thousands of CYOA type games written (a comprehensive database can be found here), some text-only, some with graphics, some web-based, some using emulators, and some that you have to download. So what exactly could I add to this genre other than another good story?
The answer lies with Facebook, oddly enough. I’m not always a really big fan of Facebook, but it is something we all use. And earlier this year, Facebook rolled out a new feature for its Messenger platform called “bots”. Without going into a long digression of what a bot is, essentially bots are like little scripts that “look” like a person you can talk to via Messenger just like how you talk to your friends on Messenger.
Now, all the folks who I know that are writing/building bots are using it primarily for business or practical functions. The most popular Messenger bot at the moment is called Hi Poncho, and if you have a Facebook account, you can talk to him at the link. He exists to give weather forecasts, but he’s also fun to “talk” to.
But what I realized when I saw all these bots was that this would be the perfect medium for a Choose Your Own Adventure story/game! Why not? No need to download anything! And you can play for a minute or an hour whenever you want as it “lives” right inside the same app (Messenger) that you use every day. I also thought it would be really fun to play around with the multi-universe aspect of a CYOA story, writing not just one story but dozens of them, each different depending on which choices you make.
So, without further adieu, if you’ve got a working FB account, click on the link below to play!
Rogelio Price is a 12-year-old boy about to begin his first day at a new school. Your role is to help guide him through his day. If you make good choices, he’ll have a good day, and if you make poor choices… well, he will have a pretty rough day :P
If you’ve ever played a CYOA game before, you might remember that they’re often quite weird and gory, with multiple agonizing deaths if you choose wrong. As FB exists in a different, more politically correct era, I made my CYOA game completely without bloody deaths or fighting off space goblins, but I still think it’s fun. And it’s perfectly suitable for a child to play while still containing enough funny stuff for adults to enjoy.
I only finished Part 1 of the game, but it’s a rather big area to play around in, with MULTIPLE stories and adventures to enjoy. But if you do get to the end of Part 1, there’s a nice little surprise waiting for you. So have at it, and enjoy a little old-fashioned fun in a brand-new medium!