Back in the 80s, something landed on the shelves of bookstores across the UK that would forever change the lives of entertainment-starved school kids. The Warlock of Firetop Mountain was a book unlike any other; it was an adventure where YOU were the hero.
Choose Your Own Adventure books had been around for a time before Warlock, but they were old hat now and tame beyond comprehension. Warlock, the first in the line of mega-successful Fighting Fantasy books by Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson, allowed the reader to slay beasts, solve puzzles and meet multiple grisly ends. The adventure gamebook was born.
However, the 90s weren’t kind on Fighting Fantasy and their immense popularity declined, shunned in lieu of videogames, which were swiftly becoming more technically impressive. These were dark and barren days for the once gleaming literary genre, but the 21st century brought with it web 2.0 and a new saviour for gamebooks: the iPhone.
Neil Rennison founded Australian-based developer Tin Man Games in 2008, a company who realised that the iPhone platform was a perfect way to play the gamebooks he used to enjoy as a child. Gamebook Adventures came to being, beginning with fantasy adventure An Assassin in Orlande. “I always knew we had a good chance to build the Gamebook Adventures brand as we were at the forefront of a new technology in the form of smart phones and tablets,” says Rennison, “While it was our intention to get GA out there as a digital only series and be seen as a new take on interactive gamebooks, it very quickly got compared to Fighting Fantasy and Choose Your Own Adventure and in many examples held up alongside those famous titles.”