Some of you may remember the massive Abandonware site known as the Home of the Underdogs. A few of you may even remember that it had a section devoted to the low-tech predecessors of interactive fiction games: the gamebooks.
After HotU's demise, numerous revival projects came into existence -- but so far, the gamebook collection is missing from every one of them.
to prevent this content from vanishing from off the face of the internet, we decided to host a copy of the collection here on Abandonia.
Note: Some of these gamebooks were planned for addition but never made it to HotU. They were posted by Sarinee in the copy of the partial backup of gamebooks she made available in 2009.
As a child, I grew up with a lot of "Choose Your Own Adventure" gamebooks popular in late 1970s and early 1980s. This page showcases some of the best gamebook and solo adventure/RPG series ever made, including some rare gamebook comics. Since there is a very small chance that these books will see the light of day again, especially since many copyright holders (such Byron Preiss) no longer exists and all these books have been out of print for over a decade, I have decided to scan and compile these gamebooks from my own collection into PDF format, so that old-timers can relive the old days, and younger visitors will have a chance to experience first-hand this primitive-but-fun form of interactive entertainment that was popular long before the rise of computer games.
All books have been scanned and compiled in Adobe PDF format. You can either print it out or play it on-line in Adobe Acrobat Reader (version 4.0 or higher required). Hyperlinks have been added in most books for your convenience, so you can jump to page X or box X by just clicking on "Go to X" passages.
Many gamebooks, especially "solo RPG" adventures such as the Fighting Fantasy series, require you to roll dice to determine combat outcomes. If you don't have any RPG die (6-sided typically), feel free to use this handy RPG Dice Roller or the D&D Dice Roller.
Recommended gamebook links:
Combat Command is a series of "interactive novels" by various authors, all edited by Bill Fawcett, the originator of this series. Each book's adventure is set within an existing sci-fi universe developed by authors within their own novels. For example, one of the books is set in the world of Hammers Slammers by David Drake, while another is set in the world of Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein. There are three things that set the Combat Command series apart from almost every other gamebook. First, they are set up in "novel" format, with sections sometimes covering four to five pages. Another facet of this format is that the story does not put you in the role of the hero, but rather a character from the existing universe, like Emerald Sheller or Juan Rico, and you make decisions for that character. Second, these are sci-fi stories, while almost all other gamebooks are fantasy, or at best some sort of post-apocalypse story. Third, Combat Command puts you in charge of entire combat units, like an armored brigade or a fleet of starships.... You will fight a lot of battles, and the mechanics for combat are relatively simple and work well. Whenever you fight a combat, you total up the ordnance value of all units involved, and then you roll 2D6 and compare the result to a combat chart, of which there are seven, to represent different types of troop quality and equipment. The result will give you the number of enemy units to eliminate. The system goes back and forth until one side is defeated. If you lose units in a fight, they are gone, unless you have the ability to replace combat losses. This means that a hard-fought but successful victory in an early fight may leave you without adequate troops to successfully complete your mission.
Discuss this series on our forum!