Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

The Original “Choose Your Own Adventure” Creator Wants to Kickstart an App for Kids

Choose Your Own Adventure wants to build an iPad app. The Vermont-based company behind the popular children’s book series launched a Kickstarter campaign today, aiming to raise $130,000.

ChooseToonsAs founder R.A. Montgomery describes it on Kickstarter, Choose Your Own Adventure is “a series of interactive books where the reader is the hero making choices that lead to a variety of different endings.” Usually, readers flip to a certain page based on each decision, winding their own path through the book. Clearly, that might translate well to a touchscreen app.

In a way, the self-directed fulfillment angle makes Choose Your Own Adventure the perfect app and the perfect Kickstarter project all tied up in one.

I’d worry that writing about Choose Your Own Adventure is my own personal self-indulgent nostalgia as a child of the ’80s, but BuzzFeed has proved that kind of callback has a massive audience. And that’s clearly what CYOA is going for on Kickstarter. As CYOA publisher Shannon Gilligan says in the pitch, “Our original fans are having kids who are the right age to watch these cartoons.”

Also, Gilligan and Montgomery attest that CYOA is “the fourth best-selling children’s series of all time and fifth best-selling book series of all time with over 260 million books printed in more than 38 languages.”

Despite that success, they’d like fans to chip in for the production of a new app called Choose ’Toons, saying that the touchscreen interface will be a leap forward from previous e-book deals.

“Touching the screen makes a big difference in making you feel in control, and making you feel like you are making a real choice,” they say on Kickstarter.

It’s far from their first time trying tech; CYOA was actually distributed on the Atari set-top box way back in 1982.

If all goes well, the first Choose ’Toons will feature CYOA bestseller “Your Very Own Robot” and will be released in May 2014. Here’s the premise:

“Your parents are scientists. One day, they throw out some pieces of a robot in the trash. If you can figure out how to put the pieces together, you’ll have a robot of your very own! But do you know enough to control it, or will it take over your school?

YOU choose what happens next!”


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work