Back in the eighties game books were at the height of their popularity, selling in their hundreds of thousands. Come the nineties, the video game era took over and game books saw a decline, with even the most popular series being pulled from the shelves. With game book fans of yesteryear now adults, they now wish to introduce their children to the genre, with many of them becoming authors of interactive adventures in their own right. The game book market is now reviving, as this generation looks for ways to bring children back to reading rather than screen time.
My new book, JAMTHOLOGY, is an introduction to game books with four thrilling pre-bedtime sized adventures, which start off easy and grow progressively more involving until you finish a seasoned game book adventurer. It is ideal for readers of all ages who wish to begin a journey into interactive stories and pit their wits, rather than read standard cover to cover books.
I’m delighted to announce a project I have been working on with my stepdaughter is about 75% done, and will probably be released early December. She will be joining the ranks of gamebook illustrators at just 16 years old, like her favourite did, the late Martin Mckenna. It will be my fourth publication inside 18 months. Watch this space for more…
Well, I’ve gone and done something rather naughty but also quite satisfying. Behave not that! But as you know, I’m a huge fan of Oliver McNeil’s The Storymaster’s Tales RPG. Players are usually represented by little glass counters, and although Ironrat Mini’s started a line in making miniatures for the different classes, this ceased due to lockdown or brexit or Katie Hopkins or other frightful things. Last night, I browsed eBay and discovered Reaper Miniatures did models of all the 16 classes I needed for a complete set. For generic effect I’ve even purchased the three covered by Ironrat.
My royalties for Literally Immersive Gamebooks have paid for these, I think it’s a job well done. Some of the detail is lovely.
Well, I was going to take a rest from writing, but my delightful niece gifted me a pen and notepad specifically to write my next adventure with. Can’t really ignore a demand like that, so three nights ago I came up with a backstory and we’ll be returning to similar mechanics as LIG2. Exciting times, no idea when it’ll release as I’ve only just begun, and there’s no old manuscript to sponge from like with The Druids Of Pneuma. Watch this space for more.
So the special edition sets of The Druids Of Pneuma have started finding their way into their new owners hands. Let’s take a look at a couple of things that make them so special.
1) It’s not branded with the LIG logos. We get to enjoy Malcolm Barter’s art The Bella Mort without the monofett LIG crest across the top. No ISBN or blurb either.
2) It’s a hardback. One of only 35 in existence. Okay, 36 if you include the proof copy. There will never be anymore made, making them rarer than a Magehunter lol.
3) Some text has been removed. If you are a follower of the Literally Immersive Gamebooks page on Facebook, or backed at a Walraven level, you will no what something is when you find it which may be important. Otherwise, your quest may get a little stifled.
4) There is a credit list, and write up about how the book took a quarter of a century to get from my head to its published form.
5) They’re all signed. You’re welcome 😜 Paperbacks will be available on Amazon next week.
So a couple of days ago I received the proof bound of my latest gamebook , The Druids Of Pneuma – the third title in my Literally Immersive Gamebooks series. There are 36 of these hardback copies in existence, all taken by a backer of this grand project. They have 410 sizzling references to look forward to with artwork by Fighting Fantasy illustrator Malcolm Barter, Mike Tenebrae on internals, and Pat O’Neill on fillers. The book will officially launch after these special hardback editions are posted off, and be available on Amazon in late May.
I’ve been participating in The Storymaster’s Tales Online LARP since it’s maiden adventure late last year. Last night I was honoured as a moderator in The Storymaster’s Tales Interactive Theatre Facebook group. Thank you. As a celebration, I have now added a page to my blog devoted to it, and highlighting what they do and what we as the players get up to. If you are into interactive adventure , rpg , larp , or even a fan of the old television classic Knightmare then check out my page http://www.jamsplace.co/walraven
Hey hey! Today I endeavour to finish off the second rewrite of The Druids Of Pneuma. What a nightmare last hundred refs it has been. With plot holes and cross links galore having to have been ironed out, it isn’t any wonder Puffin rebuked 19 year old gamebook writers. Anyway, I think I have come up with a lovely story, or peril and woe, action and adventure, monsters and magic.
Upon completion it shall be shown to three trustees for preliminary perusal, and the wonderful Mike Tenebrae will be briefed on internal illustrations. I have come up with a plan for limited Kickstarter rewards, which people will be able to get a special edition hardback or paperback as well as other goodies. Whether or not that funds, the book will be available on Amazon shortly after the Kickstarter ends. I’m guessing it’ll be a couple of pounds more than the first two Literally Immersive Gamebooks as its over twice as long at 410 references.
Of all the book projects I am ever likely to do, this is probably the most personal to me, and a product of my 19 year old self and 44 year old self combined. There’s that number again! It will also contain a couple of Easter eggs here and there. A 25 year old work is about to come alive. And with a cover by Malcolm Barter, binding me to the Fighting Fantasy series I love and grew up with. This is a dream come true. I’ll be at the Fighting Fantasy Beero tonight, if you cannot make it I wish you all a merry Yuletide break and happy New Year.
Larping has recieved a significant smash in the chops due to lockdpwn rules. Personally, the closest I ever got to Larping was cops and robbers, or am-dram productions with a youth club I attended as a boy. So is there a way to get round this? Yes! Oliver McNeil, creator of the incredibly popular Storymaster’s Tales boardgames Weirding Woods and Dracodeep Dungeon, has created an interactive webcam based format, where Larpers can create there own character and explore the multitude of locations in his ever expanding Grimm-esque universe. With encounters of wizards, witches, monsters and magic, this thoroughly absorbing static larp experience draws you straight into a cooperative adventure with dozens of other characters.
The production levels of this visual interactive phenomenon are high, and many people have compared the experience to the old Knightmare TV series from the 80s. My own character, Half-head Harry, is a Thief who is usually handy to have onside when sneaky skullduggery is relied upong to progress the story. Being new to Larping, I can say its easy to get into, and more experienced Larpers are always happy to help you out if you stifle.
While the world of outdoor social RPG is at the mercy of covid 19, I strongly recommend to anybody who like LARP, RPG, D&D and all other immersive live action co op games to check it out. Search for Storymaster’s Tales Online LARP group on Facebook today and have a chat with some of the members about joining in this incredible gaming delight. Ages 14+
Oliver McNeil, creator of The Storymaster’s Tales, invited myself and other gaming fan Helen Donovan, to take part in a live cam session of his latest game named Hotel Lovecraft. Thankfully my inferior internet allowed me to stay the duration, and what an incredible time we had.
The game differs tremendously from previous successes, Weirding Woods and Dracodeep Dungeon. While it is still card/book/dice based, the setup differs in that you are not building a map like in the aforementioned, but playing 6 levels (floors) of a creepy hotel based heavily with a feel of the titular name’s works. The chilling atmosphere when you explore each room is started with an accompanying soundscape and narration at the start of each scenario as usual. This works to great effect, creating a real sense of intensity and dread like in such games as the Room app series. The intensity grows tenfold as you get nearer the end of the game, say, the final two floors, where the end is in sight but you are scrambling round trying to complete your objective or avoid falling foul of any terrors out to suck you stat points away.
Even though Helen and I were the only two players, the six levels of five rooms kept the game going for two hours in total. She got away. I died in the last location. Because of her as it ultimately turned out, yet we’d been working together perfectly well until the final location. Women! 😄
Even though this game differs to Oliver’s others, it isn’t a far flung effort being traditionally easy to pick up and more importantly, great great fun. This will be the third ten on ten Oliver McNeil game when I score it on BGG. Thanks for all the fun, laughs, and games you bring to the world Mr McNeil. Originally crowdfunded on Kickstarter, you can order a late backer copy if you CLICK HERE.