Monday, 26 May 2014

Nothing Vanishes Without a Trace

Apologies for the recent lack of activity here. I still intend to continue with the blog and cover the hundred plus suitable gamebooks I haven't yet attempted here. Life has been busy of late, and I'm struggling to engage with the book I'm currently attempting, which makes me less motivated to make time to press on with it. Sooner or later I'll get back into the right frame of mind.

In the mean time, some of my lost Fighting Fantasy playthroughs have resurfaced. They vanished last year as a consequence of the unexpected deletion of the FF forum on which I started posting playthroughs, and while a few could be salvaged thanks to the Google cache and the Wayback Machine, the majority just didn't exist online any more.

The other day I was doing some file management, and while going through a small stack of floppy discs (yes, I still have some, and a functional drive), I discovered that one of them had a file on it entitled 'FFinorder'. Scarcely daring to hope, I opened it, and found that it contained a back-up of the first sixty of my playthroughs from the deleted forum. Including duplicates of most of the ones I'd been able to salvage anyway, but over half of the ones in the file hadn't been recoverable online. So I've been reposting them at the active FF forum.

To give you something to read while I'm still out of the zone, here are links to ten of those playthroughs, all of which are more substantial than the appropriate entries here. They assume more familiarity with the books than my posts here do, but even so, they ought not to be impenetrable to anyone new to the book.
Steve Jackson's Sorcery! 4 - The Crown of Kings
Here I didn't make it into the Archmage's fortress. I got a lot further there.
17 - Appointment with F.E.A.R.
Here I only made it to about the second fight. I survived to the climax there.
19 - Demons of the Deep
Unlucky rolls brought my adventure to a rapid end here. There, despite several sub-optimal choices, I lasted to the end of the day.
20 - Sword of the Samurai
Here I took the more difficult path, and paid for it. On the easier route, I got a good deal further.
23 - Masks of Mayhem
Not just a rapid failure here, but also one of the most unimpressive endings in all gamebooks. I covered more ground (and ranted some more) there.
26 - Crypt of the Sorcerer
I died in the very first encounter here. I didn't get that much further there, but a playthrough containing almost a dozen encounters still has a fair bit more content than one with just one in it.
27 - Star Strider
Here I only reached the second of the four cities that must be visited. There, I got to all four.
29 - Midnight Rogue
Overconfidence led to early defeat here. An early (non-lethal) botched roll made me more cautious there, and cautious rogues tend to last longer.
30 - Chasms of Malice
As spectacular a failure as book 26 here. Even the rapid and shameful way in which my adventure ended there is an improvement.
43 - The Keep of the Lich-Lord
Even worse rolls than in book 19 truncated my attempt here. The bad rolls were more widely spread there.

I'll try to get another new playthrough up before the end of the month, but can't promise anything.


  1. Good stuff Ed. I don't know how you can be bothered to tackle books you don't enjoy - I'd consign them to the 'too awful to be bothered' pile and move on - after all, a hobby is meant to be fun!

    1. Sometimes a gamebook starts poorly but improves - for example, I was initially pretty snarky about Masquerade in Hikas, but once it got going, it turned out to be pretty entertaining.

      As for the one with which I'm currently struggling, I've played it before, and know that it gets better later on. Once I get through the tedious administration-based bit, things should pick up, but I have to get past that obstacle before I can have the fun of fighting alien psychopaths and involuntary participation in extreme sports and so on.

      I wonder if anyone can identify the book in question, based on the plot points mentioned.

  2. Starship Traveller?

    Great to have you back - Are the Way of the Tiger or Grailquest books on your 'to-do' list?

    1. Yes to both. I've divided my smaller gamebook series into five 'blocks' through which I rotate when doing the non-FF/T&T/Lone Wolf/Proteus posts. Four of those blocks are heavily skewed towards the output of one of the more prolific gamebook writers/writer teams, so there's one block that's largely Dave Morris, another that's predominantly Smith & Thomson, a third with a high proportion of J.H. Brennan, and a fourth that's heavily infested by Jon Sutherland books. I just have Falcon book 6 to do before the S&T slot moves on to WotT, and unless I decide to go with something obscure first, the next book in the Brennan slot will be the first of the GQ series.