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:
Robert Mammone's description of this superb - and very funny - gamebook series says it all: "J.H. Brennan, who created the game system Man, Myth and Magic, and has written numerous books on topics ranging from New Aeism to time travel, took the main elements of the Arthurian myth and created the wonderful world of GrailQuest. You are Pip, protege of the Wizard Merlin, wielder of Excalibur Junior (EJ), caster of mighty magics and defender of the realm against dragon hordes, undead magicians and marauding monsters. Clearly, GrailQuest was written by an author well versed in the absurd, but capable of harnessing it to a very, very good story. Not as many references as the average FF book, and sometimes put together in a rather ramshackle fashion, GrailQuest is distinguised by its easy to learn system, the preponderance of items you could find to enhance your fighting ability, and an absolutely silly magic system which captured the tone of the books perfectly. Written during the high tide of [gamebooks], GrailQuest perfectly captured my imagination, and remain the high point of these books. A very grave pity Brennan either didn't carry on, or wasn't allowed to."
All the books are well-written, accessible, and a blast to play. Sometimes the jokes are a bit too juvenile, but that is probably due to the age of the series' target audience being on the lower end than most. Also, be wary of book #6: it has one of the most unforgiving - and therefore infuriating - mazes I have ever seen. Other than that, sit back and enjoy some of the best gamebooks ever written.
Discuss this series on our forum!