Mine was The Citadel of Chaos. It was 1983 and I was almost 10 years old. I was round my (then) best mate's house and we were rifling through his book collection (in the hope that I could run off home with an armful of his book again) and I stumbled across one with a brilliant cover - it had a creepy old castle, huge scary bats and a really cool monster. He let me borrow it and I was hooked!
After that we took it in turns to buy the whole range of Fighting Fantasy books - lending it to the other one when we'd finished with them; The Forest of Doom, Starship Traveller, The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, City of Thieves...we saved up our pocket money and bought the lot.
So when I found out that my friend and fellow Steampunk writer Jonathan Green was wanting to write a book celebrating 30 years of the Fighting Fantasy books I was absolutely thrilled, and when he asked if he could write a guest post for my blog asking for help and support for this new project, of course I was more than happy to help in any way I could with such a fantastic project.
So, here's Jon to tell you more...
YOU ARE THE HERO
‘At last your two-day hike is over. You unsheathe your sword, lay it on the ground and sigh with relief as you lower yourself down on to the mossy rocks to sit for a moment’s rest. You stretch, rub your eyes and finally look up at Firetop Mountain.’
And so began my love affair with Fighting Fantasy gamebooks.
Mention Fighting Fantasy, or The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, to people of a certain age and they will either go misty-eyed or get a little over-excited, as they recall battles with the Bloodbeast and such despicable villains as Balthus Dire and Zanbar Bone.
I was eleven years old when The Warlock of Firetop Mountain was published in the summer of 1982. I was also literate, male and an only child, making me the perfect target audience for what was effectively a role-playing game you played by yourself.
What made this a unique experience was that here was a book, written in the second person present tense (which is still something that sets gamebooks apart from almost all over works of fiction) in which the reader was the hero. Success or failure depended upon my decisions, my actions, and, of course, the fickle roll of a pair of dice.
Through the experience of reading the book I was transformed from a nerdy schoolboy into a mighty warrior, who thought nothing of battling a whole host of grotesque monsters – the sort of thing your granny really wouldn’t have approved of if she’d seen some of the illustrations – in the most fantastical environments, before coming up against the (usually magic-wielding) Big Bad at the climax of the story.
The Warlock of Firetop Mountain had such an impact on me that today I am a freelance writer, particularly well-known for my gamebooks, looking to raise funds to write the definitive history of Fighting Fantasy gamebooks.
If my experiences of discovered Fighting Fantasy sound similar to yours, perhaps you’d consider checking out YOU ARE THE HERO on Kickstarter and pledging your support today.
The YOU ARE THE HERO Kickstarter page – http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1412864360/you-are-the-hero
The YOU ARE THE HERO Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/You-Are-The-Hero-A-History-of-Fighting-Fantasy-Gamebooks/449514028443744?fref=tsThe YOU ARE THE HERO Blog – http://youarethehero.co.uk/