Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Choose Your Own Adventure 138: Dinosaur Island, By Edward Packard (1993)

If you'll read any dumb shit, go on to the next page.

If you'd rather toss this in the trash and then kick Edward Packard square in the dick, turn to page 63.

There's no denying that some of the Choose Your Own Adventure books are classics. The second one, Journey Under the Sea, for example, is fucking ill, with multiple, crazy plots and some seriously brutal endings. (IIRC, in one you end up with the bends after being ass-raped by mermen from Atlantis.) Sadly though, after a while the series really started to coast, and this one, #138 for Christ's sake, is just a lazy-ass ripoff of Jurassic Park, right down to the way the bad guy obtains the dinosaur DNA he needs to kick the whole thing off in the first place. His mind-bogglingly idiotic plan? Well, in some if not all permutations of the story it runs something like this:
  1. Clone real, living dinosaurs
  2. Make a movie featuring said dinosaurs, in secret, on the island where they're all contained (this movie would probably ultimately be released by the Asylum)
  3. Blow up the dinosaurs so that no one else can obtain footage of them
  4. Rake in one billion dollars in worldwide film rentals
Fun Fact: That was also the original script for Jurassic Park III
Oh, and did I mention the fact that the bad guy is willing to kill people in order to perpetrate this jaw-droppingly moronic, ass-backwards scheme??? Seriously, outside of the Remington Steele James Bonds, have you ever heard a megalomaniacal plan this goddamned stupid in your entire fucking life? Christ, even a child could come up with better uses for living, breathing dinosaurs (cf. various installments of Calvin and Hobbes). And as if that isn't bad enough, for a Choose Your Own Adventure this book is pretty niggardly when it comes to the chooses. Er, choices. One path, for example, is twelve pages long and you only get to make one choice along the way! Seriously, this installment is such a monumental hose job that it actually makes the copycat Time Machine series (where every choice was a winner, so as not to hurt anyone's feelings) look positively badass by comparison. It's no surprise that the kids who grew up with these books tend to cherish the early entries and even re-read them as adults, but the truth is I found this one on the floor at the thrift store, and they said I could have it for free. Seriously, Edward ass-Packard, if you were just gonna phone it in, why didn't you try choosing a new career instead?

Let's make this one little more interactive. What are your favorite (and least favorite) Choose Your Own Adventures? Bonus points for name-checking Twistaplot and/or Which Way Books.
If you'd like to buy one of Mr. Satanism's books, turn to page 666. If you'd rather not buy one of his books, then fuck you.


  1. This is right up my alley. First of all, I want to say that both Which Way and Twistaplot were far superior to Choose Your Own Adventure. They took risks and did out of the way things like adding puzzles and randomness in their stories and endings.

    Favorite CYOA's:
    Mystery of Chimney Rock (AAAAGGGGHH! THUNK! It was actually really creepy)
    Who Killed Harlowe Thrombey (A great mystery. The part where you interrogate and accuse a person is something that should've been used more often in these books.)
    Magic of the Unicorn (A great fantasy read)
    The Anti-Matter Formula (This one had a large variety of plot lines; none of them bad.)
    Daredevil Park (Which is a late entry with few choices, but I read the hell out of it)

    Which Way (This was my favorite series. It seemed to balance out between the story heavy CYOA's and the craziness of Twistaplot):
    Creatures of the Night (This contains what I was talking about. It goes from teaching gnomes how to make pancakes to saving aliens from a wizard with Earth math.)
    Curse of the Raven (The whole circus story was great)
    The Ten-Ton Monster (Singular story told in three adventures. I'm still impressed by how well this one reads.)
    The Doomsday Prophecy (It's Batman)

    The insanity that is Twist-a-plot:
    Golden Sword of Dragonwalk (As much as I despise R.L. Stine for Goosebumps he did this series well. Not only is Golden Sword one of the best in all three series, but he added the idea of choosing a companion near the beginning that affected the story later. Great idea.)
    Midnight at Monster Mansion (Being a fan of horror, I should hate this one. Somehow it was goofy without taking away from the monsters.)
    The Formula for Trouble (Follows the three plot elements that appear in most of the good books, and did stuff like making a decision on a coin flip, but what I love most about this one is the most credit because they added a fan submitted entry in which you're gunned down by the police. They even talk about how the fan is a sick human being in the footnotes).

    1. I actually have a copy of "Golden Sword of Dragonwalk" and I think it's my favorite CYOA type book of them all, mainly because it has such a smart-assed tone about it.

  2. This all sounds pretty gay.