The Daily Ping

The 10,000th Ping will be published on May 24, 2027. Paul will be just about 50 years old.

April 17th, 2000

Choose Your Own Adventure

As my unpacking continued, I found a box of books that was at my parents’ house until a few weeks ago. This one containted my full collection of Choose Your Own Adventure books. These things really brought back some memories.

As a kid, I really enjoyed these dynamic paperbacks — from the first page, the reader had the choice of where to go in the story. Not exactly a high-level Internet-based RPG, but it was some pretty interesting stuff during its time. Interestingly, they published CYOAs until 1998.

Some of the ones I remember I especially enjoyed were The Cave of Time (the first CYOA), The Mystery of Chimney Rock (surprisingly spooky), Deadwood City (a good Old West setting), and Who Killed Harlowe Thrombey? (a murder mystery, of course). My favortie authors were Edward Packard and R.A. Montgomery, who, incidentally, also wrote the majority of the CYOA series.

One of the most interesting things I found amongst my collection was a small booklet that I had picked up for free from a local bookstore titled How to Write Your Own Choose Your Own Adventure (or something similar). It was a brief how-to guide from Edward Packard and apparently I used it: I also found a full CYOA book that a friend and I wrote together. It was actually pretty darn good, too. 🙂

The only decent CYOA page I could find is at -ram

Posted in Childhood Memories

FROM: Paul
DATE: Monday April 17, 2000 -- 4:06:27PM
Man, I'm glad you found a page about these things. I absolutely LOVED them as a kid. It was also great to see some of these covers again.

I'm pretty sure I got rid of all of my CYOA books, although I had quite a collection. I think Hyperspace and Return to the Cave of Time were my favorites.

FROM: Paul
DATE: Monday April 17, 2000 -- 4:08:04PM
...and lest I forget Supercomputer, in which you get an implant that turns you into a supercomputer. Aaaah, those were the books!

FROM: Scott
DATE: Monday April 17, 2000 -- 6:22:56PM
Oh my! I was totally in love with those books when I was younger. Basically, as my older brother moved on to college and such, he gave me his CYOA collection when I was like 10. I had the regular kind (Ryan, I thought Packard and Montgomery were the ONLY CYOA writers. :) ) as well as similar types of CYOA books based on Dungeons and Dragons and The Transformers. Many hours of my youth were spent on these things. Another topic is does anyone remember the more interactive CYOA style books such as Lone Wolf? Man, those things were awesome too...I have Lone Wolf, D&D ones, one based on the RPG Car Wars and various other CYOA ripoffs. I still have my collection at home, so now I have to go through and look at them all again. :) Thanks Ryan!

FROM: Scott.....once more
DATE: Monday April 17, 2000 -- 6:25:41PM
Oh, and I didn't even mention which CYOA were my favorites. I think I'd have to go with Who Killed Harlowe Thrombey and The Race Forever as my personal favorites.

FROM: Robert
DATE: Monday April 17, 2000 -- 9:22:42PM
Sweet Jesus, yes!!!! This is the topic I've been waiting for!!!

I wasn't big into into CYOA so much as the more RPG-styled ones that would follow in the wake of CYOA and D&D. It probably wasn't until I was 11 or 12 that I got into it but I became loyal to them for a brief but wonderful time. At one point, I got so hard up for one series (I forgot which) that I wrote a letter to the publisher, Berkely Books, and ordered them directly. It was sweet!!!

Later I got into the Joe Dever series like Lone Wolf and its sister series where you're the wizard. Once when I was playing one of the latter on a road trip to Alabama my older looked over and told me not "to be one of those dorks" who think alchemy is real--whatever that means. During my fascination with these types of books Joe Dever issued a 4-book Road Warrior-type series that has remained my favorite, mostly because I could experience the pre-adolescent joy of buying them as they actually came out. Oh the memories.

Over the past few months at McKay's Used Books in Centreville, VA I've picked up about 6 books from various series for about $.40 each. Unfortunately, I brought them all to my apartment here at school, neglecting to take my dice from home, so they've just been sitting under my bed waiting for me to get cracking.

Normally, I'm not one for running over memories of my childhood (because few are all that good). This topic, however, is one that I must say I could go on about all day (as you have seen). Maybe if I'd had friends and actually played real RPG's I wouldn't have typed all of this!

FROM: Robert
DATE: Monday April 17, 2000 -- 9:33:53PM
I just remembered some more stuff:

Steve Jackson was another name that popped up in these kinds of books. Both he and Joe Dever were English (or so I assume) and both did more complex RPG games that I would see in game and comic stores (but never bought). Steve Jackson was responsible for GURPS, which I always thought was pretty popular.

FROM: Matt
DATE: Tuesday April 18, 2000 -- 12:58:12AM
This is another topic that I bring up on a regular basis in my everyday conversation. I often like to pretend I'm a chose your own adventure character and decide what route I should chose. So far I have looked ahead in my future and decided to avoid alcohol and drug use for various reasons, actually on page 76 it says I get slayed by an elf for being loaded on hops and barley.
Anyhow the GI Joe ones were my favorites as was anything GI Joe related. For that matter if I can find a girl named Scarlet I'll marry her.
Rob if you ever want to play I'm up for it.

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Tuesday April 18, 2000 -- 9:45:23AM
Thanks for the contributions, guys! :)

I didn't have much experience with the more details RPG-type books (though I had *one* D&D CYOA-style book now that I think about it).

Paul -- I checked my collection, and I have Supercomputer.

And today I brought Mystery at Chimney Rock into work to read at lunch. What a dork am I. :)

Matt -- those elves are evil.

I also forgot to mention that there was a CYOA series for younger readers. The books were yellow and much, much thinner. I had a number of those as well (The Haunted House being my favorite).

FROM: Christopher
DATE: Thursday April 20, 2000 -- 1:56:17AM
Wow! Ryan, I actually remember when you got "Supercomputer." You even lent it to me.
I still have all of my Choose Your Own Adventure books, and was actually reading The Mystery of Chimney Rock as recently as two months ago. It's very good and actually is quite creepy.
Can I pleeeeeez borrow Who Killed Harlowe Thrombey? I've been keeping my eye open for that book for years now. This book is unique because it had one page with like fourteen choices on it. And just the idea of a serious murder mystery written for twelve year-olds is quite rare. This, along with the Cave of Time and The Mystery of Echo Lodge were my favorites. I believe the author of the latter was Louise Munro Foley. She was cool because she based her books on actual American Indian legends, South American Tribes, etc.

FROM: Robert
DATE: Friday April 21, 2000 -- 12:52:55AM
Matt--There's a girl named Scarlet who does a show. She also is the only reviewer I have now whom I don't know. How 'bout them apples?

FROM: pistol jack
DATE: Friday October 13, 2000 -- 11:56:42PM
the only CYOA books i can really remember reading were the 'Wizard and Warrior' books. they were great! first of all, it was during midevil times, so it had that whole dungeon and dragons thing going on. also, you had the choice of being either the wizard, with his magic spells and shit, or the warrior, with all his weapons. at the beginning of the book, they gave you a list of all the spells and weapons that they both had, and then you could choose i think maybe three. i always picked the warior cause he had kick ass weapons like double sided battle axes and super cross-bows and shit. it was great!

FROM: Pete
DATE: Tuesday March 6, 2001 -- 3:59:00PM
My favorite books were The Mystery of Chimmney Rock, Vampire Express, Escape, Horror of High Ridge, and Sabotage.

The Horror of High Ridge was the best Choose your own adventure ever!

FROM: Paul
DATE: Tuesday March 6, 2001 -- 9:25:59PM
Back in 6th grade I got very much into the You Are An Interplanetary Spy books - they were essentially CYOA with much less text and more graphics.

I remember that we had to do weekly book reports, and I tried using these novels, but the teacher took me to task because they were really quite short. Darn nuns.

FROM: Robert
DATE: Tuesday March 6, 2001 -- 11:13:05PM
Did the nun at least let you choose where she was going to whack you with the switch, ya know, to keep in the spirit of role playing?

FROM: Dave
DATE: Sunday April 1, 2001 -- 11:15:57PM
I love these books. And since you guys all seem to like "Chimney Rock" aka "Curse of the Haunted Mansion", can anyone sell me one? I can't seem to find a copy anywhere.

I've got "Who Killed Harlowe Thrombey", and it is very good, but I'd like to know if there is a CYOA mystery out there with a sense of humor to it?

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Monday April 2, 2001 -- 9:15:18AM
Dave -- I know has a bunch of CYOAs for cheap (though the shipping is a bit expensive).

I wouldn't be able to tell you one offhand that was more comic than adventurous or scary...

FROM: Corey
DATE: Saturday May 5, 2001 -- 10:21:04PM
If anyone wants to get these books, just go to

#38 Sabotage is the best choose your own adventure book, foolwed by #27 The Horror of High Ridge and #48 Spy for George Washington

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Saturday May 5, 2001 -- 10:54:49PM is a significantly better place to get them than Amazon... many are available on for under $1 and even after shipping will be cheaper than on Amazon.

FROM: Yuri Sagawa
DATE: Monday August 25, 2003 -- 5:29:31 pm
Hey, do you still have that booklet on how to write a CYOA? If so, I'd love a look at it - please write me...

FROM: Demian Katz [E-Mail]
DATE: Monday January 12, 2004 -- 6:46:07 pm
In case you're worried about the dead link in the article above, it has simply moved to . Enjoy!

FROM: Ryan [E-Mail]
DATE: Tuesday January 13, 2004 -- 12:03:00 am
Thanks -- it's updated now.

DATE: Saturday October 16, 2004 -- 4:14:24 pm
i love cyoa my favorite is dinosaur island

DATE: Saturday October 16, 2004 -- 4:14:58 pm
im reading vampire invaders now

DATE: Saturday October 16, 2004 -- 4:15:22 pm
and ghost train

DATE: Saturday January 1, 2005 -- 2:19:12 pm

FROM: aaron
DATE: Thursday February 24, 2005 -- 11:07:11 pm
its a long shot, but i'm hoping you can tell me the title of the one CYOA book where you got to choose between being a warrior and a wizard and slaying the sorceress - along the way there was a zombie king who would strangle you under the table, and a bottomless basket of treasure.. i'm going crazy trying to find this treasured book from my past! please email me any tips on finding it , that would really help!

FROM: Joseph
DATE: Friday February 25, 2005 -- 11:14:00 am
"The Race Forever:" My personal fave. You got to do a road race or an offroad race. For the road race, you got to choose between a Saab and Lancia Stratos. For the off road rallye, you got to pick between the old Toyota 4Runner or a Land Rover. I loved it.

It was the first time I'd ever heard of the Lancia Stratos, which turned out to be quite the rallye car. I loved it so much that I built a plastic model of it as a kid. One day, maybe I'll get a real one.

I remember a couple of CYOA books that were real yawners, too. I can't remember the titles of those, though. My parents still have them all somewhere back home--unless they donated them behind my back.

Shoot. I want to read them all now.

FROM: Troy
DATE: Saturday March 5, 2005 -- 12:35:57 pm
I loved these books. I just ordered the first few from an ebay seller. Several favorites, but Harlowe Thromby was the best. I was always fascinated by the giant chin artwork of the earlier books. Packard was my favorite author. I'm anxious to share them with my son when he's older!

FROM: Bob CaveMan
DATE: Wednesday February 22, 2006 -- 10:03:06 am
I was wondering if someone would share with me these books ? I only ever read #1 The Cave of Time If I could barrow for awhile, or buy it from you, just leave message here, I will contact you, I'm looking for #1 and #50 Return to the Cave of Time, I am interested in others also, also interested in an html book or something of that order.

FROM: Ryan [E-Mail]
DATE: Wednesday February 22, 2006 -- 11:31:07 pm
Try your local library. Apparently, they lend books there.

FROM: Butch
DATE: Friday March 10, 2006 -- 10:15:10 pm
You can find a great page at and Amazon has a whole list of these book if you don't mind searching some. My personal Favorite was Sugarcane Island by Edward Packard. My kids love these books and following Packards example they make great bedtime stories for me and and kids to enjoy together.

FROM: Jonathan
DATE: Friday June 2, 2006 -- 11:24:47 am
I read "Choose your own Adventure" books because you get to choose where you get to do and it is very adventurous and fun. So you will regret if you don't read it. See ya!!!

Sian January 20, 2007, 9:51 am

I always loved Who Killed Harlowe Thrombey? and its great to read how it is a favourite amongst everyone else.. I also liked Chimney Rock. I had a look at Wikipedia and was surprised to read that Edward Packard actually invented the whole choose your own adventure idea – what a cool guy!!?!

Nat May 4, 2007, 12:27 pm

haha those books are awesome. i remember using up all my fingers trying to keep a tab of the choices i made just incase i died!!

me December 21, 2007, 5:04 pm

which was the one about the vampire that was a teacher

Carlos March 31, 2009, 9:24 pm

Can some of you scan any of those books into pdf format and upload it on the net, please?


Ryan April 1, 2009, 6:07 pm

I’ll get right on that, person I don’t know!

NO July 26, 2009, 8:54 am


Kaj February 19, 2010, 6:31 am

Another person you don’t know!
However, I do have a request also. I have never ever heard of that booklet about writing your own CYOA….any chance you’d share some info about that?

What is this then?

The Daily Ping is the web's finest compendium of toilet information and Oreo™® research. Too much? Okay, okay, it's a daily opinion column written by two friends. Did we mention we've been doing this for over ten years? Tell me more!

Most Popular Pings

Last Week's Most Popular Pings

Let's be nice.

© 2000-2011 The Daily Ping, all rights reserved. Tilted sidebar note idea 'adapted' from Panic. Powered by the mighty WordPress.