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Item - Armageddon: Pick Your Plot

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Series: Miscellaneous Works by A. J. Lauer and Daniel P. Keidl
Authors: Lauer, A. J.
Keidl, Daniel P.
Date: January 25, 2013
ISBN: 0615715850 / 9780615715858
Length: 116 pages
Number of Endings: 42
User Summary: You are Elisabeth, a young woman with an incredibly broad range of interests; unfortunately, the world is about to end.
Demian's Thoughts:

This is a somewhat unusual gamebook.

First of all, the reader's character is extremely well-defined. I didn't object to this -- Elisabeth is, for the most part, a likeable character, and her many accomplishments could perhaps be seen as a tribute to the overachievement of countless nameless Choose Your Own Adventure protagonists.

Also significant is the fact that all paths lead to doom (though in varying degrees). The whole point of this book is to experience the end of the world, and all of your choices will arbitrarily lead to some sort of apocalypse. On the one hand, it's fun seeing all the diverse endgames the authors devised. On the other, most of the decision-making is inherently unsatisfying because the reader has no real control over what happens and there is frequently no direct cause-effect relationship between making a choice and the nature of its outcome. Perhaps that is the point -- bad stuff just happens, but regardless, the gameplay element of the book is its weakest part.

The text of the book is well-written, and some paths are quite engaging, but the experience as a whole is somewhat uneven. I found the adventure most enjoyable when it focused closely on Elisabeth's immediate experiences; however, it has a tendency to broadly summarize huge global events in an abstract fashion, and these passages tend to have less impact. I also suspect that I enjoy the work of one of the book's two authors more than the other, since this might explain why some paths held my attention significantly more than others. Finally, I was a little disappointed that there wasn't a bit more resonance between all the paths -- while multiple reads do provide more information about Elisabeth, and elements like the hunt for the Horsemen of the Apocalypse encourage exploration, the work as a whole still feels fairly random. It would have been nice to have found more of an emerging pattern in the chaos.

Bottom line: this is something a bit different that rewards its readers by defying some genre expectations and providing above-average prose. However, gameplay-oriented readers are likely to find it unrewarding, and it might have been made stronger by a less random structure.

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Errata:The first choice on page 96 should lead to 99, not 89.
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