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:
In the author's words, from the official download site: "Invaders was originally written for a series that was planned by Penguin Australia in the late 1980s, but which did not endure past the release of its first title. I wrote this when I was feeling rather homesick in a four-mat hotel room in the suburb of Iogi in Tokyo." You play a bush doctor/dentist in the remote town of Cabralowie, Australia. Your task is simply to survive 24 hours in this survival/horror adventure, which is quite well-written and interesting, with unique skills such as "bush skills" and "cricket playing." Combat is a little too simplistic, however.
Ring of Thieves is a huge (20,000+ words long) solo adventure based on the free Risus: The Anything RPG system, in which the characters are literally defined by clichés, and these are used the way attributes and skills are in other games. Demian's comments: "I quite enjoyed this adventure; it's a challenge to get through, but it's not so linear that there's only one correct path. Characterization is definitely much stronger than is usual for a solo adventure, and the story's sword and sorcery plotline is pleasantly spiced up from time to time by humor and strangeness. The adventure isn't completely perfect; it's a bit on the short side (at least by Fighting Fantasy or Lone Wolf standards), and the ending leaves a few things (intentionally) unexplained. Both of these flaws are easily forgiveable, however; this is (I hope) only the first part of a series, and room had to be left somewhere for future growth and improvement."
Windhammer is a well-written fantasy solo RPG, part one in the Chronicles of Arborell series. The series is designed in a manner reminiscent of the classic Fighting Fantasy and Lone Wolf books, and while it must be played through a web browser, it retains the old gamebook feel by requiring the reader to roll dice and keep track of statistics on a printed character sheet. Includes over 260 sections and some clever plot twists.
Recommended Free Gamebooks links: