One of things that attracted my attention was the colorful maps that formed the inside cover of each book. Like the maps in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, the maps captured my imagination.
The stories were engaging and exciting, with a real risk of failure that added, and they were replayable--the next time you read them, you just made different decisions and explored new avenues in the story that you previously didn't know existed.
Lone Wolf wasn't the only Choose You Own Adventure series, there was also the Zork gamebooks, based on the computer game at the time, but in my opinion (then and now), Zork never could hold a candle compared to Lone Wolf.
|The map for Flight from the Dark and Fire on the Water, courtesy Project Aon and Joe Dever|
I also bought the Magnamund Companion, which was an excellent supplement to the series, but I had a major complaint--it was way too short. I wanted more.
In later years, long after I had played through the books multiple times, I would read the books just for their story value alone, which made them worth the read. But by the mid-90s, I had a hard time finding any of the books after Book 12. With the rise of computer roleplaying games, it seemed like the Lone Wolf books were petering out.
Fortunately, Lone Wolf's adventures did not end there. Years later, while looking online to see if any Lone Wolf stuff might exist on the web, I stumbled upon Project Aon. To my astonishment, Joe Dever was still around and kicking (great news), and more than that, he had generously allowed some of his books to be published online by the project, and thereafter to be downloaded free of charge. Talk about awesome. Twenty-five to thirty years after the series first appeared, I would get to be able to read the most recent books in the series. What's more, the nature of the books, with the reader jumping from numbered section to section in pursuit of the story, was ideally suited to modern ereaders. I had always intended, and now I have the chance to do it with both the original books, and with ebooks.
Cubicle 7 to create the Lone Wolf Adventure Game, a tabletop RPG inspired by the original gamebooks. The game system incorporates the original gamebook rules and expands upon them, resulting in an a very simple game system suitable for beginners, but can also be made more complex for more experienced gamers (more on this in future post). This is brilliant, as it allows old time Lone Wolf fans to use the game as a fantastic way to introduce their kids to tabletop RPGs, but its expandability gives it life as a game for when the kids get more experienced, or as a game between adults. I plan on taking my kids on their first (simple) tabletop adventure soon, and once I do, I'll post a recap here.
For Sommerlund and the Kai!