|Project Aon - Lone wolf gamebooks|
I was a huge fan of what was endearingly called "gamebooks" in the 80s. It was a "choose your own adventure" form of interactive fiction where you started at page 1, read the introduction and was then immediately given a choice. It might have been as simple as "do you go north, then turn to page 185" or "do you go south, turn to page 240". In this way you got to choose how the protagonist navigated through the (sometimes very) complex story lines.
The choices naturally grew progressively more involved. Do you "Poison the king's cup" or "Wait patiently to see what happens next". Every choice having the chance of leading you to a painful death or to the path that would save the kingdom. You were the protagonist, the book was your journey.
Ultimately I left them behind. Computer games completely killed that industry and offered a much wider variety of narratives. But they never really went away, they still had their fans and most of us who had read them back in the day kept the books on our shelves. A couple of years ago the genre got a revival in large parts thanks to the excellent work of Tin man games and their modernized, original work. But what about the classics?
Few will likely argue with me if I make the statement that Joe Dever's Lone Wolf series is the most iconic. Yes, Fighting Fantasy was great but the sheer length and breadth of adventures our favourite Kai master went through is unsurpassed to this very day. From the monastery where you had your humble beginnings, through exotic deserts, ancient tombs, jungle temples, snowy wastelands and into the midst of opposing armies. Do we really have to dig out 30 year old dusty books to play these classics? Fortunately not.
Project Aon is an authorized, free organization that endeavours to bring all of these classics back in a digital format. Their versions of the books are entirely gratis. 35 books are available right now. For free. You can play them this very second.. so what in tarnation are you waiting for? Go get them! Now!