December 6, 2004

Map of Woe

by Nick Montfort · , 2:12 am

The calamities (and triumphs) that can be reached from the beginning of Edward Packard’s 1979 Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book The Third Planet from Altair are fully mapped by Greg Lord, as his justifiably proud professor Matt Kirschenbaum points out. Just as Andrew found four main paths in Night of a Thousand Boyfriends, Lord tracked down the four principal paths of Altair. He also provided a short essay relating his CYOA analysis to the theories of Espen Aarseth and Marie-Laure Ryan, and considering aspects of the material nature of the book (e.g., the effect of different “decisions” leadings to texts on facing pages, so that one can’t help but glimpse the other result). There’s a glossary explaining the terminology Lord developed and used, too.

4 Responses to “Map of Woe”


  1. Zen of Design » Choose your own adventure maps Says:
    [...] ed books for our interactive entertainment. And we liked it! This guy liked it enough to map one out (found via Gr [...]

  2. Academy of Harvested Discourse Says:
    I Loved Choose-Your-Own-Adveture Books
    Grand Text Auto » Map of Woe

    The calamities (and triumphs) that can be reached from the beginning of Edward Packard’s 1979 Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book The Third Planet from Altair are fully mapped by Greg Lord, as his justifiably proud professor …

  3. Matt K. Says:

    This is my second semester in a row using this assignment, and it has worked out well both times. Others are certainly welcome to borrow from it, just as I initially borrowed from Andrew’s mapping exercise. CYOAs are more familiar to my students than any other cybertext objects, so I suspect it’s empowering (or something) for them to be able to apply the high-falutin’ theory to artifacts they remember from their childhood. It’s also a reliable way to demolish the “electronic/procedural literature is just a CYOA with links” meme.

    The assignment comes with a choose-your-own-deadline: they can hand it in to me at any point in the semester. That aspect of it has been less successful, at least this time around: perhaps nostalgic for a false sense of closure, most waited until the very last minute to turn it in. ;-)

  4. ErikC Says:

    thank you, greatly enjoyed that.

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