Turn to 400!

Bit a departure for me, this post, in that I’m nominally talking about writing as oppose to sharing a piece of writing.  But this is something of a preamble to me writing something that will be shared, so I guess it still qualifies.

Last year I appeared on the mythical property ladder.  I’m not sure on which rung yet (it’s a ladder so I presume there’s more than one; property step sounds less impressive after all), but I’m on there so… yay? Anyway, that’s not important.  What is important is that I had to pack up all my stuff that had been collecting dust in the garage, and move it into the new garage.  And then I began to unpack it.  Yay?


As is often the case, the packing and unpacking of things is often a metaphor for the packing and unpacking of dreams and goals that were once clung to and then forgotten.  And so it was with me, as I dusted off a box and came face to face with the demons of my past.

A whole series of them.


Look at them, literally bursting from their weak plastic prison.

For those who aren’t aware, Fighting Fantasy was is a series of interactive gamebooks by (at least initially) Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone that came to life in the early 80s.  For me they were also the best, despite the (often) many flaws and sloppy structuring, particularly in the later entries.  There was always something near magical about reaching the fabled “Turn to 400“, thus signifying (usually, until the monstrous birth of multiple endings and ridiculous “multiple the number of diamonds on the sword by the year of its forging” nonsense came along) victory – usually because it was so damn hard to achieve.  But the worlds were often rich, often fun and varied.  There were fantastical lands and alien worlds, detective mysteries and tales of vengeance and most of all “YOU” were the hero.  Fun times.

And digging out this box reminded me of a long lost dream, of a goal that was once the centre of my existence: To write a Fighting Fantasy gamebook.

Well, that ship has sailed, specifically into waters of obscurity hidden by the growth of video games (although attempts to republish and reinvigorate are apparently underway).  And, truth be told, I kind of achieved that goal to some extent – way back I hand-wrote a load of crappy 50 paragraph long adventure booklets for friends and family.  I mean, really crappy.  I’ll dig them out one day and share… maybe.

But time has been fairly kind to me in terms of writing talent, and I discovered to my surprise that I’m still keen to realise that dream, even though nothing will come of it.

So, starting now…ish, I’ll be planning and writing and publishing on a suitable online platform a gamebook that’s a homage to Fighting Fantasy.  Which probably means it’ll be some weird fanfiction entry.  Probably. I’ll check in from time to time with updates on my progress.  Oh, and I’ll probably do a longer blog on the existing official Fighting Fantasy titles too, focusing on the narratives or something.

Until then, your adventure ends here.  Sorry, couldn’t resist.

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