Choose Your Own Adventure books

When I was a child I really enjoyed playing with this interactive books. I recently bumped into this web site that analyzes the interaction design of those artifacts and explains eloquently how they works.

As a child of the 80s, the Choose Your Own Adventure books were a fixture of my rainy afternoons. My elementary school library kept a low, fairly unmaintained-looking shelf of them hidden in one of its back corners. Whether this non-marquee placement was an attempt by the librarians to deemphasize the books in favor of ‘serious’ (children’s) literature or was simply my good luck I still haven’t worked out. But it meant there was a place that I could retreat to and dive into unfamiliar worlds without distraction.

A lot of what I read in those days served a similar purpose. A narrative was all well and good, but more interesting to me were the books that laid out a set of places and situations that could outlive their attendant plots — stories that provided scaffolding for my own imagining.