When I was a kid I loved those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books. Do you guys remember those? It was always so much fun to have options to choose how the story went…although, of course, I always doubled back to see what happened with the options I hadn’t chosen. I think half the fun for me was trying to see if I could figure out every possible path for the story. But I never had enough fingers to save my place in the book at each juncture of the story!
Ever since the idea of making interactive eBooks hit the market I’ve been thinking about how much MORE awesome Choose Your Own Adventure books could be in a digital media format. I mean, not only could we each choose the next blob of text that we would get, but there could be all kinds of games, challenges, videos…things we need to complete as part of the story’s path.
Well, that’s kind of still a dream for me, but today I discovered a new eBook app that takes us at least halfway there. I was listening to Here & Now on NPR and Robin Young was interviewing Dave Morris, the author and graphic artist behind the new “Frankenstein” eBook app. Dave Morris’ “Frankenstein” is based on the novel by Mary Shelley, but is set up in a Choose Your Own Adventure style and is published by inkle. Mary Shelley’s novel is also included in the eBook app, for those who would like to check it out in its original form. And there are beautiful illustrations throughout as well.
I only heard about the book today, so I haven’t finished reading it yet. But it is addictive. The characters respond to the choices I make along the way and just like when I was a kid I’m excited to see what happens next. (Unlike when I was a kid, however, in the digital version I can’t back up to see what would have happened had I chosen differently; I can reset the entire novel, but can’t change my choices individually.) But given that the app is a full-length novel, I didn’t want to wait until I finished it to tell you all about it.
The eBook is recommended for kids 12 years of age and up, due to the horror and fear themes. And so far, I’ve only heard and read adults’ opinions of the book. But I am so curious to see what kids think! Will the Choose Your Own Adventure format be as popular with kids today (albeit in a digital presentation) as it was in print with me and my friends 30 years ago? And might this be a way of making classic novels more appealing to kids? But even if you’re not a kid, this app is really neat!
Do check out Frankenstein and see what you think. And if you have kids (or students) who this would be appropriate for, definitely have them check it out and report back!! It is available from the iTunes app store for $4.99. Author Dave Morris says that they will also have epub3 and Kindle versions available by mid-November, so this could be a cool holiday gift.
Can’t wait to hear your reviews!
To purchase Frankenstein from the iTunes app store, click here.