Choose Your Own Adventure

When Professor Fishman asked us to pick a game for the semester, I began my search in the Mario Universe, hoping to find a highly entertaining but challenging game to keep me occupied and engaged. I casually mentioned this to my boyfriend, who then got all excited and asked me to try out Mass Effect and to consider it as my game for the semester. (Did I mention he’s been trying to get me to play it all summer? As a female gamer, I’ve always been more attracted to cutesy games and games in which I know that I can shoot randomly in all directions with other more experienced gamers will keep me safe- thank you, Halo.) I finally gave in and sat down to play it, and then realized, about 15 minutes into game play, that this video game was pretty much like a virtual “Choose Your Own Adventure” Book, where your actions and your choices of conversation will eventually “mass effect” the ending of your game play and how things will turn out (how clever.)

Now, I was a huge reader when I was a kid (and still am), and I especially loved the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books. Sometimes I would actually follow the rules and turn to the right pages, other times I would cheat by finding the ending I liked the most and working backwards, and there were some times when I would just outright read random pages to entertain myself. Coupled with the first few lectures in which Professor Fishman introduced the idea of videogames in education, and the whole “books vs. videogames” argument, this piqued my interest. I went to the website of the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books, and was actually surprised.

http://www.cyoa.com/pages/history-of-cyoa

Who knew that these series of books were entirely based written by a man who developed video games?? Apparently, he recognized that there were RPG elements in these adventure books and decided to run with it. With people praising the entertainment and education of these books, would they continue to rave about the educational value if they knew that all these books had been really based off of video game elements and a developer? With video games coming under increasing scrutiny in the educational field, I wonder if people would actually try to have more books written in a “video game” form.

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