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:
If the individual book sections don't open when clicked, go here.
Although only two books were published, Fatemaster remains one of the largest and most ambitious gamebook series ever released. Each book is massive: five hundred passages as opposed to two to three hundred passages in other series, many optional areas and puzzles, and long, well-written paragraphs. Demian says it all in his review of this rare series:
This short-lived fantasy series was published by Unwin in the mid-eighties. Its most notable characteristic is its mapping system: Many sections of the text are accompanied by chunks of a map, and the reader must copy these chunks onto hex or graph paper as he or she plays, thus easily keeping track of which areas have been explored and which haven't. I really enjoy this sort of thing for some reason, and I think many gamebooks could have benefit from maps this precise. The rest of the system is fairly standard, though it does show a bit of creativity. Rather than using hit points, players lose points from their attributes, thus making their characters weaker in combat as they sustain damage. Spell-casting is also nice, with a lengthy list of possible spells to cast, each costing a certain number of points; it's not as flexible or impressive as the Sorcery system, but it's workable. It appears that only two books were released, with a third never making it past the planning stage. Perhaps the series met its end as the direct result of its flexibility - there's so much to do in each book that you almost don't need another one. Still, it's always a shame to see a series die prematurely, and while the end of Fatemaster isn't as tragic as the failure of Fabled Lands, it would have been nice to watch the series evolve further.
Discuss this series on our forum!