Friday, April 14, 2006

Gamebooks

Another query about gamebooks in this morning.

Hardly a week goes by when I don't hear something from gamebook fans past or present and the GrailQuest series has been the top search item on my Bookshelf site for years.

All of my 1980s gamebooks remain in print in France. They're in the course of republication in Japan and there's serious talk of a revival in Spain, but absolutely no sign of interest from an English language publisher.

The conventional wisdom is that gamebooks have run their course, can't compete with computer games and yada-yada-yada. Not what I've been hearing from the fans.

One day a sharp U.K. or (less likely) U.S. publisher will sniff the air, put a bit of marketing muscle behind a gamebook revival and make a fortune.

Be nice if it was with my GrailQuest series, which sold millions in its heyday, still sells tens of thousands abroad, and is ripe for play by a whole new generation of English-speaking children.

Anybody out there listening?

6 comments:

Dan said...

That's great to hear. I've been trying to learn French for a year now and like many others, loved Grail Quest series.

IMO, Grail Quest stood out because they were incredibly funny and filled with optional challenges perfect for young teens. I remember spending hours cracking codes to learn a corpse had "gone to 14" or examining maps of Red and Green loyalties.

These were not attributes well copied by other popular game books nor are they common in their video game replacements.

Anonymous said...

What about Wizard Books! They are republishing the Fighting Fantasy series, with new cover art and box sets.

paddy said...

Hey I loved those books...I even learned to fold that boat from Voyage of Terror. And I still remember how to do it and use it to impress anybody under the age of 9. Never fails!

C. D. Peck said...

I would love it if they would republish the GrailQuest series in the United States. Sadly all of my copies were either lost or sold when I moved away to college, and it would be great to get a new set. I really disagree that gamebooks are in any way comparable to video games these days. Who wants to spend countless hours mindlessly killing mobs of artificially-intelligent bad guys when they could instead be matching wits with the Poetic Fiend?

Pickman said...

The Grailquest books were a fixture of my childhood, easily my favourite gamebooks. Unlike the dry, bland, unforgiving fantasy of the Fighting Fantasy series, the Grailquest books spoke directly to me, joked with me, and didn't bugger off the moment I died - a mistake was never followed by a taciturn declaration of "your adventure ends here."

I loved how quirky they were, with their vampire carrots, bureacratic nerds, savage chickens and generally endless whimsy. I've never been able to look at Arthurian myth quite the same way again. It wasn't until years later that I realised how well designed they were mechanically, too.

With the Fighting Fantasy books being published in interactive form on the iphone, are there any plans to bring the Grailquest series to the digital medium? I can't think of a more deserving series of gamebooks.

Herbie Brennan said...

Thanks for the kind words, Pickman. My agent swears this will be the year she gets GrailQuest republished. In print or digitally or both, I don't care. Keep your fingers crossed.