Thursday, February 23, 2012
Fighting Fantasy blogs
Fighting Fantasy role-playing gamebooks were a phenomenon of the eighties, but dwindled in popularity with the rise of video games. Still, retro sometimes comes back into fashion—several of the original gamebooks have been reissued by Wizard Books—and Fighting Fantasy remains popular among a lot of people who grew up in the eighties and fondly remember rolling up SKILL and STAMINA scores.
Myself included, of course. I have the entire collection—some of the books I bought over fifteen years ago, and purist that I am, they’re all the original releases. Recently, though, I found a couple of bloggers who are playing through the books and describing the experience, including the incongruities of the stories, the amazing number (and type) of meals you have to eat and every time you die.
The latter is one of my favorite things about the series, of course. The more sophisticated the books became, the more elaborate the deaths (or non-victory adventure endings, i.e. more or less the same thing).
Dan of Fighting Dantasy tackles every book in the series. The moment I read this ending to his City of Thieves adventure I knew I would enjoy his blog.
I had no food either, having traded it all for a silver arrow.
So when a boy came up to me offering to sell me either plums or apples, I was ecstatic. He recommended the plums, and knowing this town pretty well by now I chose the apples, and they were a bit off, doing a single point of stamina damage. Problem: I only had one point left.
I was killed by an apple marginally past its use-by-date.
Then there’s Sword of the Samurai:
Next thing we know, we meet a forty-foot centipede, which I assume must've been common in medieval Japan...? It bit off Moichi's arm, and no amount of food was going to fix that, so I felt justified (but not exactly honourable) in not giving him any. If he needed food that badly, he should have bought his own.
The other blog is Turn to 400, which is much more detailed and snarky.
Somebody needs to let these guys know that when it comes to last words, pithiness is what gets you over. You shouldn't be glancing at your wrist-watch during a guy's dying words. You shouldn't start wondering what might be for dinner. You shouldn't have to interrupt to clarify whether the man is, in fact, actually dying at all, or whether there might still be enough time to drag him down off the mountain or invent all of modern medicine.
I can’t wait for the author to get to my favorite book, House of Hell.
You can also check out back-issues of the Fighting Fantazine here - they’ve got mini-adventures, interviews with authors and artists, humor columns and much more. Enjoy (and don’t drink the white wine)!