Suspend Your Disbelief

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Choose Your Own E-venture

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If you decide to follow the tunnel, turn to page 151. If you decide to cross the bridge, turn to page 12.

Remember the Choose Your Own Adventure books? Now you can enjoy the series in ebook format with the new iPhone app U-Ventures. The app was created by Edward Packard, one of the authors of the original Choose Your Own Adventure series and creator of U-Ventures.

In an interview with NPR host Neal Conan, Packard comments on some of the narrative changes made possible by the new digital format. First there are the obvious bells and whistles that ebooks allow:

CONAN: Well, these were obviously interactive books. Clearly these are a natural for dig.

Mr. PACKARD: They were. And so, when we decided to put it into app form with Simon and Schuster, we had to get a developer expanded app out in L.A. and develop it really – which is more than just transferring it into digital form, because we wanted to add a lot of tricks and things and features that the app could perform that you would never have been able to have in the printed book. […]

CONAN: Books can’t make sounds and that sort of things, yeah.

But there are less obvious point-of-view changes, as well:

[PACKARD:] My original first book, I – first one of these that I wrote, I wasn’t able to sell it, but I got a small publisher to publish it, and we decided we’d have it – try to have a unisex you, so – but even that, it wasn’t too satisfactory. And the publishers, Bantam, when they started bringing out the series in a big way, they said, you know, we have to represent it with somebody as you, the reader. And this somebody turned out to be a white boy, looking like sort of a junior James Bond. And this didn’t sit too well with a lot of people, especially girls.

And so we decided, with these apps, we’re not going to have that problem. We’re going to make it point-of-view, the reader. And as you go through your adventures, all the illustrations show things as you see them with your own eyes.

Listen to the full story here, and if you’ve tried the U-ventures app, let us know what you think of it.

Literary Partners