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The Weekly Review - Edition 46

4 months ago
Commended by mizal on 3/7/2020 8:43:21 PM
The Weekly Review – Edition 46

FEATURING

Announcement!
Notable News!
Featured Article: Where do story-games come from?
Who’s Who: Gower, WouldntItBeNice, Cricket, MinnieKing and Tanstaafl

ANNOUNCEMENT

So, after five years, I will be winding down the Weekly Review and Edition 50 will be its last.

In its time it has showcased many great stories, given in-depth interviews with site members, provided news about the site, quizzes, jokes, riddles, articles, stories and, most recently, a Who’s Who of site members. I would encourage other members to write their own newsletters, it’s fun to do (but admittedly can be hard to maintain week after week, especially if you’re on your own), and I want to thank everyone who have read these and been kind enough to give me feedback.

As always, thank you for reading this and I hope you all have a great day!

NOTABLE NEWS

In Newbie Central Jeongju, Aileen and TheFreeEndeavour join the site!
In the Lounge kardymon wonders if he should drop out of school and gets good advice from people!
In the Parlour Room there isn’t much to report on outside of the Interesting Comments Thread!
In the Creative Corner Eiwynn’s interesting thoughts are pretty popular!
In the Writing Workshop BerkaZerka talks about his latest project and you know it’s going to be good!

FEATURED ARTICLE: WHERE DO STORY-GAMES COME FROM?

Story-games, or Gamebooks as I’ve always called them, were first experimented with in book form in the 1930’s but they didn’t really achieve popularity until the Choose Your Own Adventure stories exploded out of America in the 1970’s. With nearly two hundred books in its main series it is the fifth best-selling series of books of all time (earning a cool 250 million dollars), spawned a plethora of imitators and established the gamebook genre in mainstream culture.

It all began when writer Edward Packard was telling his daughters bedtime stories and couldn’t think of how to continue the story. He asked the girls what they thought should happen next and the children gave two different answers. This inspired Packard to write a story with multiple branching storylines and the Choose Your Own Adventure series (a tag coined by Packard’s publishing company Bantam Books) was born.

When CYOAs came to the UK in the 1980’s a pair of British writers called Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone had the imagination to combine it with a dice, pencil and paper system similar to Dungeons and Dragons (another American product of the 70’s). They went on to write The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, the first instalment in the acclaimed Final Fantasy series, which eventually ran to fifty-nine books over the next few decades.

A host of imitators followed, perhaps the best was the Lone Wolf series (about 30 books) by British author Joe Devers which used a clever random-number system to provide a refreshing spin. Other notable series I remember buying as a child in the 90’s include Sorcery, Grailquest, Sagas of the Demonspawn, Legends of Skyfall (with a clever coin flipping system), The Cretan Chronicles, Knightmare, Sonic Adventures and Way of the Tiger.

Sadly, by the 90’s the world had moved on and gamebooks were on their way out, from 1995-98 Choose Your Own Adventure, Fighting Fantasy and Lone Wolf all stopped publishing and pretty much all other series followed suit. The genre received a shot-in-the-arm from horror writer R.L. Stine who wrote the Give-Yourself-Goosebumps gamebook series as an add-on to his original Goosebump series (one of the few series to outsell CYOA) but in 2000 Stine also ended this series after fifty books.

Older fans of the original series and younger fans who have discovered the genre have hoped that technology would provide a resurgence in the popularity of the CYOA style. This site, established in 2001, is one of the bastions for fans of the genre on the Internet, another is Project Aon which has made the entire Lone Wolf 30-book series available to be read for free, a generous gift from the late author of the series, Joe Dever.

The members of this site who continue to write CYOAs, CYOS, story-games or gamebooks are strengthening the genre and continuing a legacy that has existed at least since the 1930’s, or even centuries longer, according to our Help and Info Section. Perhaps in time the popularity of gamebooks and branching stories will increase again as these things do come and go out of fashion, meanwhile the CYOA members continue to use the site’s nifty features to keep the writing style alive and continue to churn out many fantastic and creative masterpieces.

For more info on this be sure to check out the CYOA History article in the Help and Info Section.

WHO’S WHO: GOWER, WOULDNTITBENICE, CRICKET, MINNIEKING AND TANSTAAFL

26: Gower
Joined: 2019
Last Active: Currently Active
Top Stories: Kelly Unicornstrider and Friends (Everything Else), Private Game for Natalie (Love and Dating) and Sabbatical Report Presentation (School Based).
Notable For: One of the newer members of the site Gower has already made a huge impact with his brilliantly unique writing style and fantastic reviewing ability. In just under a year he seems to have done everything: written an extremely useful series of articles, become a strong level-headed presence on the forums and generally invested his creative genius into the site. Like many others I am looking forward to seeing what he writes next.

27: WouldntItBeNice
Joined: 2016
Last Active: Currently Active
Top Stories: Azula and Zuko (Fan Fiction) and Solstice (School Based).
Notable For: This interestingly named individual is another key site member, author of an impressive twelve different stories, two of them featured. WouldntItBeNice is a very good author whose Azula and Zuko story won EndMaster’s Fan Fiction contest in 2019. A welcome forum presence (though a little quiet recently), enthusiastic reviewer and a skilled author Wibble’s writing skills have continued to grow and just get better with time.

28: Cricket
Joined: 2018
Last Active: Currently Active
Top Stories:
Notable For: Cricket, who I must confess right now I don’t know very well at all, is a relatively new member of the site but has become far and away one of the site’s most popular members. EndMaster’s adopted daughter and number one fan she has written two very good stories of her own and is a very popular presence on the forums and elsewhere. Her current absence is sadly noted and many are hoping she will return very soon.

29: MinnieKing
Joined: 2016
Last Active: 2019
Top Stories:
Notable For: Though sadly inactive now MinnieKing was an enthusiastic contributor to the forums and a while ago entered a determined competition with Tharaapples over who could earn the most points and commendations, at one time reading and reviewing every single story on the site. The pair did much to bring up site standards after a difficult warrior-cats and mods-problems time and hopefully at some future time MinnieKing will return back to the site.

30: Tanstaafl
Joined: 2013
Last Active: 2016
Top Stories: Undead Persona (Horror)
Notable For: Another long-gone member is Tanstaafl, whose biggest legacy is his brilliantly written horror story Undead Persona which I’d recommend to all fans of the genre. I don’t really remember Tan but it seems he was an enthusiastic reviewer and poster on the forums who vanished away after three years. People come and go on this site but some, like Tan, are good enough to leave very well written and enjoyable stories for the rest of us to enjoy, which I always think is a nice free gift from strangers.

CONCLUDING CREDITS

Notable News: Jeongju, Aileen, TheFreeEndeavour, Kardymon, Eiwynn and BerkaZerka.
Who’s Who: Gower, WouldntItBeNice, Cricket, MinnieKing and Tanstaafl.

The Weekly Review - Edition 46

4 months ago
Wow this one didn't even write itself and still got commended. I suspect a commendation laundering scheme.

The Weekly Review - Edition 46

3 months ago
Newsletters have always been an easy ass way to get comms. Stop whining and use the labor of others to harvest your own.

The Weekly Review - Edition 46

3 months ago
"In the Creative Corner Eiwynn’s interesting thoughts are pretty popular!"

Thank you for the honorable mention, Will

I have not been a part of this community long, but I know the value of having a "glue" guy such as yourself in the community is very high. The community will miss your weekly efforts.

I hope that you are still going to be active, even if not in the same role as before.

The Weekly Review - Edition 46

3 months ago
We won't miss his weekly efforts. We never missed his weekly efforts.

The Weekly Review - Edition 46

3 months ago
We've missed you, Ford.

The Weekly Review - Edition 46

3 months ago
I know you stopped having time for these quite awhile ago, so it was really nice that a global pandemic killed a bunch of people and put you out of work so you could pick them up again for a bit. Issue 50 is a nice round number to end it on, although I'm hoping someone else will eventually be able to pick up the torch because I did miss having these around.

I think are even be a few new issues in the works right now, so you did your part to reignite the newsletter fever you kicked off a few years ago, and that's cool too.

Also just wondering, have you had a chance to do any writing lately? I know at one point you mentioned what sounded like a big new project you were working on.