Remembering… Fighting Fantasy

Remembering. Fighting FantasyTurn to page 25 to fight David Hayward, or continue reading for great treasure
At the same time that gaming on a computer was beginning to form, at least in the shape or the ZX81 and Atari console, another genre of gaming was experiencing something of a renaissance: roleplay gamebooks. It’s a form of entertainment that can be traced back as far as 1941, with Jorge Luis Borges’ Examen de la о bra de Herbert Qua in, a three part story that contained several different endings, prompting the reader to determine their path.However, the gamebook that we’re remembering here was the immensely popular Fighting Fantasy series. Fighting Fantasy was every text adventure lover’s greatest game in book form. By copying the score card from the front of the book and armed with a sharp pencil, rubber and a pair of dice the reader could follow their character through dense foreboding forests, trap infested dungeons or far into the future.Most of the series ended up as computer games in some form or another. The Forest of Doom being the more popular to find its way to the 8-bit machines, where you could buy the game and get the book for free! Other examples consisted of graphical adventures based on the stories and could only ever be found at computer fairs or perhaps downloaded via a bulletin boards.
The Fighting Fantasy books were written by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone, after the pair co-founded the Games Workshop. The first book in the series. The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, published in 1982, has you play an adventurer seeking out the treasure inside a mountain where a powerful warlock has it locked up. You need to find two keys in order to gain access to the treasure, but doing so requires you to fight and use your cunning to outwit the dangers you encounter.
Each of the books was broken down into four hundred or so sections that corresponded to options the reader was given in a traditional adventure fashion. For example, you would be asked whether you wanted go North or South, kill the goblin or run away, open the box or leave the room? These choices then subsequently had you turning to the corresponding section as dictated by the option – ‘turn to page 50 to grab the treasure and run’, for example.
The formula proved to be extremely successful, but after a total of 59 books and as many computer game ports, the pair took separate paths. Livingstone went on to design games for Domark and then Eidos Interactive, while Jackson went on to develop the first telephone-based roleplaying game, set up Lionhead studios with Peter Molyneux and now teaches Digital Games Theory and Design at Brunei University.
Fighting Fantasy isn’t dead, though, in 2002, Wizard Books bought the rights and began a new series, with Blood Of Zombies being the last title published in 2012. Will there be more? We certainly hope so.
The Good
Together with the scorecard you could really immerse yourself in the story. The fight for survival never felt so dramatic as when you had very little health left and you came across an ore.
The Bad
Let’s face it, we all bookmarked the previous while turning to the next in case the outcome wasn’t favourable – and decided to win fights without ever rolling a die.
The Fighting Fantasy series was amazing and bridged the gap between digital gaming and books. Thank you, Messrs Jackson and Livingstone, for a great gaming concept.
Did You Know?• Over 17 million Fighting Fantasy books were sold worldwide• The Forest of Doom is available to play via Steam• There were even some FF-inspired two player gamebooks• The last book in the original series was Curse Of The Mummy.

7Review earns Amazon affiliate commissions from qualifying purchases. You can support the site directly via Paypal donations ☕. Thank you!
We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.