- go through the gold door? (turn to page 19)
- turn around and leave the way you came? (turn to page 27)
- climb the silver staircase? (turn to page 38)
Remember when decision-making was as fun and easy as this? The idea that we, the readers, could create our own narrative in a book was nothing short of revelatory. And while I’m sure Choose Your Own Adventure books would still appeal to kids today, what would happen if the series were updated, converted for modern times using modern technology? You’d get Choose ‘Toons, interactive cartoon apps that bring the Choose Your Own Adventure format to the screen. Sound like an awesome idea (well, duh!)? Then fund the project’s Kickstarter campaign.
“Tablets will let us do to cartoons what we did to kids’ books,” is the Kickstarter’s succinct, yet compelling claim. Choose ‘Toons are based on the CYO adventure books, which publisher Chooseco has continued to crank out since I was a youngin’. The first episode of Choose ‘Toons is based on Your Very Own Robot, in which readers (maybe five-year-old children, or maybe someone like me) construct a mischievous robot named Gus. This Choose ‘Toon has 20 story branches, 11 possible endings, and 30 minutes of animation.
The Choose Your Own Adventure folks realize the interactive experience made possible by tablets. Kind of like turning the page, touching the screen offers a physical connection that makes the reader feel in control, as though they are making a real choice. And that, along with the role-playing inherent to the books, is what makes this series so unique and beloved.
But, as with all Kickstarters, the project needs funding — $130,000 for the animation, voice acting, and programming (the script has already been written) of the initial 32-minute app, which will eventually become a series. Once funded and completed, Your Very Own Robot Choose ‘Toon will be available in the iTunes store somewhere around May 2014, and will be compatible with iOS and Android.
Pledges start at a buck, which gets you access to updates and a place in the Choose ‘Toons Hall of Fame, which would look good on a resume. The $6 pledges are already all gone, so who cares what the rewards are for that? $7-$18 pledges get to download the app, and $19-$30 pledges receive a stylus to help iPad users navigate their adventures. Then the rewards get a bit more interesting, such as becoming a Beta Tester, getting drawn into the background of a Choose ‘Toon scene, or, for 5,000 smackers, getting to voice a character. Box sets, capsules full of goodies, and other Choose Your Own Adventure prizes accompany pledge amounts as well. The funding period, which began on August 12, will last until Sept 12.
Honestly, I think the best reward would be putting this app into the hands of an unsuspecting kid and watching the sparks fly. I wonder if Gus can be made into a cylon…