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Item - Pokémon: Choose Your Own Pathway to Adventure

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Series: Pokémon
Author: Gray, Alex
Date: December, 2000
ISBN: 078212903X / 9780782129038
Length: 112 pages (plus introduction and room for personal notes)
Number of Endings: 9
User Summary: Jessie sets up a Pokémon match designed to humiliate Ash, so he must set off in search of a rare new Pokémon with which to defeat her and protect his reputation.
Demian's Thoughts:

Judging by the interview with the author posted on the publisher's web site, he has a definite respect for the gamebook genre and knows the essentials for putting together an interactive book. Indeed, from an interactivity perspective, I can't really fault this book -- it does what it sets out to do. Unfortunately, the journey isn't as entertaining as it should be. I think the Pokémon series lends itself well to a mechanics-oriented rather than a story-oriented approach; thus, the total absence of game rules here is a problem. The only thing that sounds like it might be mechanically interesting is the "secret ending" mentioned in the introduction, but as it turns out, there's nothing particularly secret about it once you stumble across it; it's only unusual because it arrives earlier along than the others. The story itself is bare-bones at best, and some of the characters, most notably Jessie, seem to be portrayed a bit inaccurately. Really the best thing I can say about the writing is that it displays a certain ironic humor here and there, but overall, the book fails to be very involving, a fact which isn't helped by the use of the always-awkward third-person, present tense writing style. I was also jarred by frequent references to Pikachu as "it." While I realize that the creature is genderless, the frequent use of word "it" somehow kept causing me to misinterpret sentences. Complaints aside, this isn't really a bad book; it's just not an especially good one, and it doesn't take advantage of the game-friendliness of the Pokémon format as extensively as it should have. If it manages to sow the seeds of gamebook fandom in a few Pokémon addicts, though, I'd consider it a success.

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