I was a massive fan of game books when I was growing up, and had nearly the whole set of Fighting Fantasy, Lone Wolf and Blood Sword novels, as well as a number of other random titles. As I grew older I eventually donated or sold these books and now have started to rebuild the collection again.

These books were great when you wanted that Role Playing game level of detail and immersion, but did not have anyone to play with or the time for a proper gaming session. The ability to stop playing in the middle of a session by just putting a book mark in was great, and the stories in the books were quite good and interesting enough to compete with the 8 bit video games of the day.

I found two of these books at a garage sale a number of weeks ago, and did some research into the series as they were unfamiliar to me.

The first was a Crossroads Adventure title called Prospero’s Isle, by Tom Wham (what a great last name !).

The Crossroads adventures were gamebooks in the worlds of some of the less D&D based fantasy lands, and some of the more creative authors such as Piers Anthony and Roger Zalazny. This makes for some pretty interesting reading,

They also feature a combat system a bit closer to 1st edition D&D with 6 attributes and THACO style combat system and weapon modified damage. I am looking forward to actually reading and playing through this one once I finish reading “The Passage” by Justin Cronin (which at the halfway mark is quite good).

There looks to be 14 Crossroads Adventures that were published in total, but information on the complete set is hard to find online. They were published by Tor press in the mid to late 80′s.

Just as an aside, anyone out there who likes this type of fiction will get a big buzz out of a great film from Jarrod Hess (the guy who made Napoleon Dynamite) called Gentleman Bronco’s. A great off beat funny film about sci fi and fantasy fiction with Jemaine Clement in a must see role as Dr. Ronald Chevalier.

The other book was a “Forbidden Gateway” Adventure gamebook called Terrors out of time. The cover art kind of looks like the Grinch jumping out of an airship, so that is hard to beat for a start. These were a short-lived series of gamebooks written by Ian and Clive Bailey, two Games Workshop designers, and published in Great Britain in 1985. These are kind of World War 2 meets Call of Cthulhu inspired gamebooks with a good combat system as well. I remember seeing this book back in the 80′s as a youngster and may have even played it. Looking forward to reading through it.

Keep your eyes out in opshops and garage sales for similar books, they are still out there.