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Item - The Hawaiian Computer Mystery

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Series: Making Choices — no. 8
Alternate Title: The Island Mansion Mysteries (reissue)
Author: Bly, Janet
Illustrators: Turnbaugh, Paul
Joly, Dave (reissue cover)
Dates: 1985
January, 1995 (reissue)
ISBNs: 0781401917 / 9780781401913 (reissue)
0891919546 / 9780891919544 (original)
Length: 152 pages
Number of Endings: 43
KenJenningsJeopardy74's Thoughts:

This is an unusual gamebook. There's more actual story content in The Hawaiian Computer Mystery than in most of the Choose Your Own Adventure books, and a seemingly endless succession of branches and sub-branches to satisfy one's appetite for adventure. This book really rewards the persevering reader, as only following a few stories to their end won't likely uncover more than a small part of the multiple mysteries waiting to be solved. Unlike many gamebooks, The Hawaiian Computer Mystery won't leave readers completely satisfied until every ending has been reached, at which point all the secrets will be known (more or less).

You and a couple of your friends have won a computer contest. Your design for an encoded anti-breach system has proven to be impenetrable even by the top technological minds in the computer industry, and you've been flown to Hawaii to take part in a high-profile contract signing to allow a big company to use your technology. It sounds simple enough, but there's a lot more of an agenda lurking around the edges of the scenario than one might think. You could be kidnapped by a group of techies desperate to fix a major glitch in their own computer system, and who better to enlist for the job than you, the code-building whiz kid? Or you could lose your way in an old haunted house, a place that island superstition insists is deadly for anyone who trespasses. What if there's more to the stories than rumors of ghosts and demons, though? What if the threat is more tangible than a restless Hawaiian spirit looking for vengeance? There are dozens of pathways for the reader to choose, most of them surprisingly well-defined and differentiated from one another, cleverly constructed and fairly consistent in terms of internal structure. The Making Choices series is lightly influenced by Christian culture, which is nice to see in a gamebook, and a few of the choices even lead to the possibility of actively sharing your faith with others, if you are willing to take a chance and stand firm in your belief. There are very few deadly endings in The Hawaiian Computer Mystery, but one or two do exist, so you know that you've made quite a string of poor decisions if you reach one of them!

While several of the endings are abrupt, and there were a few times that I was confused by the way the story unfolded, The Hawaiian Computer Mystery is an enjoyable book, and I liked it. The writing is good and the stories stretch out for a long time, longer than in most of the Choose Your Own Adventure books. I would certainly be willing to read other entries in the Making Choices series.

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Waluigi Freak 99's Thoughts:

For some reason, I liked this gamebook. It gets a little thick with the religious content in some instances, so it's meant for a Christian audience, but that shouldn't detract from the book too much for most readers. There are several genuinely original and interesting storylines to follow. Rather than simply making choices and having things happen to you, most choices require observation, common sense, and wisdom. If you don't mind references to Christianity every now and then, I'd recommend this book.

More reviews by Waluigi Freak 99

Errata:At least some editions of this book have a short sequence beginning on page 100 that is orphaned -- no other page in the text points to these pages.

This appears to be from a misprint. Page 142 should have a single instruction pointing to 100 (142 -> 100) but instead says "The End" -- and is grouped in the layout of the book with a large number of endings and given an ending illustration. However, the scene ends abruptly, and clearly continues on the orphaned page.

Special Thanks:Thanks to Ken G. for the original back cover and reissue cover scans and to Jeremy Douglass for the errata.
Users Who Own This Item: Alatar001 ((Reissue)), Ardennes (original & reissue), Auric, jdreller, katzcollection (original), kinderstef, knginatl (orig. & reissue), spragmatic, waktool (Original edition, 1st printing)
Users Who Want This Item: bbanzai, Braldt, exaquint, NEMO, Nomad, Waluigi Freak 99
Users with Extra Copies: jcdugger - Ebay item #: 270098112831

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