FIGHTING FANTASY GAME BOOKS
I remember the first Fighting Fantasy book I purchased. It was at some random charity store, and came to around £5 – which was quite a lot for a six year old – though, it was technically two books… as it was a quirky “two-player” concept (that didn’t work very well, and luckily proved to be a one-off within the series). Even though I was unable to properly play the book, the fact that I was able to try to play it anywhere was incredibly appealing (as I didn’t have a Game Boy at the time), and on the family’s numerous long drives I would have a little adventure in the back seat. Killing some trolls and whatnot.
Over the years, and plentiful trips to car boot sales and the like, I managed to amass an incredibly comprehensive collection (approximately 80% of the original series at one point adorned my shelf). As I grew up, however, and video game consoles took over, I eventually threw my collection out – seeking to make room on my bookcase for video cassettes and Playstation games, which had become my new “collection”. I regretted it nearly immediately, and soon realized that purchasing the books had become a much more difficult affair than it had been when I was younger. Luckily, for me, the series was revived in 2002, and my mother knew me enough to purchase the set for my birthday.
For anyone who hasn’t played a Fighting Fantasy book, they’re incredibly similar to the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books, that everyone has played at least once – with the main difference being the addition of rpg elements; like statistics, an inventory, and the occasional battle, or “saving roll”. Assuming you don’t cheat while playing, they can be an incredibly enjoyable experience. While the series was primarily based in the fantasy genre, there were also numerous sci-fi, modern, and horror installments to break the monotony – most of which also had their own unique “gimmicks” to keep things fresh.
The series itself was created by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone – although by the end of it’s run they began to write a smaller portion of the books. Nonetheless, my favorites were almost always written by one of the two. While I can’t remember every book now, I can remember most of my favorites – though, luckily, with enough gaps in my memory to still be able to play them without spoilers. In particular, my favorite books were part of the “Sorcery!” series, penned by solely by Steve Jackson. For anyone interested, the first two parts of the Sorcery! series can now be purchased on iOS, Android and Kindle.