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Starting Up: An Interactive Adventure that Challenges Your Entrepreneurial Skills

Series: Starting Up
Authors: Rye, David E.
Hickman, Craig R.
Illustrators: Nevy, Thomas (designer)
Dorf, Myron J. (photographer)
Release Date: 1997
ISBN: 0133122409 / 9780133122404
Length:326 pages (77 chapters)
Number of Endings:41 (15 defeats and 26 successes)
User Summary: You have been laid off from your corporate job and decide to try your hand at being an entrepreneur.
Demian's Thoughts: I think the idea of using the gamebook format for educational purposes is a good one, and this is certainly not the first time such a thing was tried. Unfortunately, this is a rather weak attempt. The writing is extremely bland, resembling a typical motivational business book more than a work of fiction; indeed, most dialogue seems to consist of people quoting motivational business books. The only characters who seem at all human (and that's saying very little) are the player character's family members, but they largely fade from sight after the first couple of chapters. Strong efforts are made to keep the player character gender-neutral, but this leads to awkwardness and seems odd considering that other details, such as age and number of children, are explicitly mentioned in the text. Of course, none of this would matter if the business elements were really strong, but I was unimpressed. I was hoping for a real simulation of running a business, but since there is so much text, so few choices and no game system, it all feels rather arbitrary. It also doesn't help that I didn't like the blunt, self-assured way the authors presented their philosophies or that I came across some rather dated subjects (especially regarding computers). Perhaps a more business-oriented, entrepreneurial soul than myself would get something out of all this, but it's a waste of time for the average gamebook fan.

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