Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Greatest Adventure of All Time

Brian
If you're like me, and you are, you went through a period as a kid when all you read were Choose Your Own Adventure books. These books were the literary equivalent to the old computer game Zork. You are the second-person protagonist of a story, and after you read the first page, you are given a list of a few options: if you wish to slay the dragon, turn to page 256; if you choose to flee, turn to page 48.

If the computer gave birth to such novels, then things have come full circle: now there is an online version of a choose-your-own-adventure story called The Greatest Adventure of All Time. Rather than typing your command and seeing how the computer responds, like the old text-based game, this effort works more like the storybook, with a series of prewritten options for you to choose from. There is, however, a twist: this is an unending collaborative effort. If you don't like the options you are given, or if your path deadends, you can write your own option, and you can write your own description of what happens when you get there. Since a lot of the people working on this are high on the freedom to create your own story, many of the paths lead to debauchery, crude references, and other objectionable material. If you can overlook that (or embrace it), you'll appreciate the surreal beauty of the work:
There are Fourteen Forts guarding this city. The flag is simply a photo of you with a big 'X' over your face. As you approach, you hear someone yell "There he is! Get him!"
What do you do?
1. Marry the Governor's daughter
2. Sneak into town
3. Purchase a Letter of Marque
4. Pretend to be Guybrush Threepwood
ยป Write a new option for this page.

It's only been going on for a short while, but the adventure will continue forever. If you look long enough, you might just stumble onto a path I've written, too.

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1 Comments:

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