Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Cthulu Faced Bookmark

That is not dead which can retreat, and with strange bookmarks even YOU may cheat!
  (+56, -5)(+56, -5)(+56, -5)
(+56, -5)
  [vote for,

YOU are reading this halfbakery idea because you clicked on a link that lead YOU to this particular page on the internet, to read on and further consider the merits of this intriguing idea, turn to 1. To flatly dismiss it in a bad tempered huff, turn to 15.


YOU think carefully about those old Choose Your Own Adventure, or Fighting Fantasy books made famous by the likes of Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson and which became incredibly popular to teenagers and pre-teens alike during the 1980s.

To reminisce about a golden childhood, turn to 3. To shake off disturbing memories and return to the idea at hand, turn to 9.


Somehow YOU managed to get to page 2 – which is pretty strange, since none of the other passages actually lead to here. Are YOU reading this correctly? Maybe YOU didn’t realise how it works, and have just read on from page 1, as YOU would a regularly organised piece of text. Unfortunately this means YOU’ve failed to understand the underpinning context of the idea, either start again from the top, or face the VISCIOUS BRANDERSNATCH!


If you defeat the Brandersnatch, you're definitely cheating. Turn to any page you want.


YOU hark back to golden summer afternoons, stretched out on a wooden deck, clutching the latest from the Choose Your Own Adventure series in your imp-like palms. Puberty looms bafflingly beyond the horizon, and YOU are as yet blissfully unaware of its inevitable and disturbing imposition. In the meantime, YOU spend your days in a state of perpetual wonder and joy.

To continue this nostalgic whimsy, turn to 8. To get on with it, turn to 5.


Yes it was rather, wasn’t it! YOU nod in agreement, thinking that although YOU’ve not actually got to the bit in the idea that actually tells YOU what it is (though YOU may have guessed that already from the main and sub-titles) – YOU already like it so much that it’s going to be difficult not to bun this one.

To actually get to the bit in the idea where YOU find out what it is, turn to 7. To meander on a bit more first, on some seemingly irrelevant tangent, turn to 16.


Turning to the book, YOU take in the front cover, a garish depiction of some mythical beast chewing what appears to be an unfortunate adventurer’s leg. The back cover explains the general concept, something to do with a Dungeon, in which there might be some traps, the kind that cause severe injury, and in some cases, without appropriate medical attention, could prove fatal. Specifically, it describes that rather than reading the narrative in the traditional, serial manner, the reader takes some responsibility for the outcome of the story, by taking choices as they are offered throughout the text.

To nod in agreement at how well this bit was explained, turn to 4. To grumble at some imagined spelling, grammar or syntactic error, turn to 11.


What a mistake! As your mouse approaches the bone button, your chest explodes and a million MANGROVE WORMS rush out. Unfortunately YOU died before YOU could cast a negative vote. For YOU the idea is over.


YOU decide that it’s time you got to the point where you actually learn what the idea is about. It turns out that the bookmark in question allows you to keep track of important pages so that should YOU turn to a page that turns out to be a dead-end, or otherwise doesn’t tell YOU what you want to hear, YOU can backtrack to an earlier point in the narrative, and take an alternative route. Traditionally, this method of play was adopted by all but the most die-hard of role-players, and was achieved by an interweaving of fingers into the pages, or deft pencilling of margins. With this invention, YOU simply use one of the great Cthulu’s facial tentacles to keep track of each decision YOU feel YOU may need to temporally revert.

To bun this idea, turn to 10, to bone it turn to 14, YOU saddo.


Pondering further on your glorious childhood, YOU fail to notice the immense SPINY HWOORANG SHAMEN suspended from the ceiling above your head. It pounces murderously as YOU loll in contemplation of a long-lost innocence. As the SPINY HWOORANG SHAMEN gorges itself on your twitching brainstem, YOU can console yourself that mercifully, at least, your final thoughts were happy ones. For YOU this idea is over.


Shuddering at the thought of a wasted youth, YOU press on reading further into the idea. YOU realise for no particular reason, that the wrong decision at this point could spell your immediate demise.

To decide something arbitrarily one way, turn to 13. To avoid unlucky numbers, and choose the other, turn to 12.


With a sense of happiness and joy, YOU bun the idea – “What genius it is!” YOU announce to anyone who may be around, and so masterfully wrought so as to convey an idea, not just in terms of language, but structure as well…

YOU realise now that with this knowledge, YOU have learnt the merit of the idea, and may happily annotate in the comfort that for YOU, this adventure was a happy one!

Well done!


YOU shake your head in pedantic annoyance at the slipshod English. “What tosh!” YOU announce, and are about to annotate your disdain, when, from the corner of your eye, you spot the hideous apparition of an angry looking GRAMMORG! He dismembers YOU and eats your twitching corpse. For YOU, this idea is over.


Unlucky! By worrying about silly numerical superstitions, YOU’ve walked directly into this arbitrary and completely unforeseeable plot device that spells the end of your game. At the realisation of this, and the thought of having to go back to…oh no! YOU forgot your place! YOU’ll have to start ALL the way from the beginning again – and, by the time you get to the last decision, YOU might make the same mistake again! Ha ha ha. YOU die horribly in some generically gruesome manner and for YOU, the idea is over.


Ha! So YOU thought that by not worrying about silly numerical superstitions, YOU would avoid arbitrary and unforeseeable plot branches?! Well, YOU were wrong! Without warning a massive FLANG HOUND devours YOU whole. For YOU this idea is over.


YOU are just about to click on the bone icon, when YOU realise that it’s actually a pretty good idea after all.

To change your mind and bun it, go to 10. Or to bone it anyway, turn to 6.


“What is this wanker on about now?” YOU scoff at the idea presented before you. “What Complete Bollocks!”. YOU decide to annotate, and are just about to type your first word, when your keyboard instantly explodes violently, embedding all of its keys in your face. YOU now resemble WORDY, from that BBC schools’ series "Look and Read". For YOU, this idea is over – alphabetface.


“I have incredible buttocks” she declares breathlessly, in a manner completely unrelated to the previous passage. This causes YOU to seriously doubt whether YOU’ve turned to the correct page. Maybe YOU misread the number the last part told YOU to go to. YOU’d check, but YOU can’t remember which bit YOU just came from! So YOU wonder, “Did I make some kind of mistake?” Or maybe it’s just a circuitous way of pointing out another benefit of the idea. Either way, YOU’ll never know since YOU’ve just drowned – for absolutely no discernable reason. For YOU, this idea is over.

zen_tom, Dec 06 2006

Choose Your Own Adventure Books http://en.wikipedia..._Your_Own_Adventure
[zen_tom, Dec 06 2006]

Fighting Fantasy Books http://en.wikipedia...ki/Fighting_Fantasy
[zen_tom, Dec 06 2006]

Wordy http://www.nzeldes....ges/HardFonts03.jpg
Possible inspiration for the over-excited wee tosser. [lostdog, Dec 06 2006]

Cthulu http://krow.net/images/cthulu.jpg
[phundug, Dec 06 2006]

(?) Cthululu http://zentom.multi...m/photos/photo/10/5
Weee eee e e e e eeee ee lll l lllll .... [theleopard, Dec 07 2006]

Choose Your Own Adventure Books deconstructed. http://samizdat.cc/cyoa/
Somewhat over obsessive. [DrBob, Nov 12 2009]

Fighting Fantasy project http://www.ffproject.com/
Free, on-line Fighting Fantasy style adventures. Whoot! [DrBob, Jun 02 2010]

You Chose Wrong! http://youchosewrong.tumblr.com/
tumblr collection of bad endings from 'choose your own adventure' books. The third one is particularly apropos. [DrBob, Jul 17 2012, last modified Jul 19 2012]

Choose Your Own Mind-fuck Fest http://carltonmelli...giant-monster-time/
[jaksplat, Jul 19 2012]

Twine http://www.gimcrackd.com/etc/src/
A tool for creating interactive adventures. [DrBob, Oct 09 2013]


       Nutter! +
I assume that the ends of his whiskery tendrils will end in a small paperclip?
gnomethang, Dec 06 2006

       I am giving you a bun simply because you put forth a decent effort.
Chefboyrbored, Dec 06 2006

       Take note, 'bakers, *this* is the new benchmark for inventive presentation of ideas. For the avoidance of doubt, the benchmark level is now set at "Very Excellent" and that in this case, the excellent is very in relation to both execution and idea.
calum, Dec 06 2006

       I won the adventure first time.   

       No seriously I did!   

       I did! I didn't backtrack once, honest!
theleopard, Dec 06 2006

       Excellent, ZT. Big plus from me.   

       Extra brownie points for reminding me about "Wordy" as well. Hated that little shit, I did.
lostdog, Dec 06 2006

       I used to mark the pages with my fingers. Just in case. REcently I used this habit as a metaphor for why it is so difficult for me to make decisions in life. (+)
GutPunchLullabies, Dec 06 2006

       So just a question... How long did it take you to come up with that?   

       Very nice, though. [+]
Hunter79764, Dec 06 2006

       Benchmark aside, I assume people are voting for this because it mentions buttocks. But if anyone actually read it, could you say what it means?
ldischler, Dec 06 2006

       It's very simple... it's a... contraption to uhh... it... umm... well... I don't know, but it was long and it said "Buttocks"! How else is a man (or woman) supposed to vote?!?
Hunter79764, Dec 06 2006

       If i could vote for this twice, i would.
nineteenthly, Dec 06 2006

       I had to look up what Cthulu is, but I sensed it from the idea. Wonderful+
phundug, Dec 06 2006

       [Hunter], it's quite obviously a multi-tiered bookmark to separate many pages so as to allow for varying degrees of CYOA cheating, which I always presumed was entirely necessary in playing books of these kind.   

       [tom], YOU are quite the baker.
theleopard, Dec 06 2006

       Hey! What gives?
Page 15 just refreshes this page.

       I'm with [lostdog] on this one - except for the bit about hating Wordy. He was great.   

       <starts reminiscing about the cartoon shorts from "Look and Read", such as "Magic e">
Jinbish, Dec 07 2006

       Excellent baking - mmmm...so piquant! The random arbitrary deadliness of Fighting Fantasy books reminds me of another relic of the 80/90s: The Sierra Adventure Game. [Restart] [Restore] [At least once more?!]
captain jack, Dec 07 2006

       awesome presentation for sure....that must have taken forever.. i used to have some D&D CYOA books that were two player, and the storylines intermingled and the characters would battle with hit points and all.. (+)
rascalraidex, Dec 07 2006

       It didn't take as long as you might think - like web pages, you just have to think about what links lead to, and what links lead from, each paragraph - once you've got your head thinking that way, it's pretty straightforward. At least, I guess it is until you start getting beyond 30 or so paragraphs, after that I guess you'd need to draw out a plan before you started writing.   

       When you look back to when these books started, it was really quite a special time. The world hadn't quite gone digital then, yes there were calculators, digital watches and space invaders - but they were all still uncommon enough to be considered as still being a bit magical. There was no world-wide-web and far off places were still far off places. In this nostalgic time, right at the close of the analog age, stories were still powerful things, kept safe in their paper cages. When you opened a book, it took you somewhere else, completely. And then being able to choose how the story progressed (even if it did normally lead you into a gruesome death) was something exciting. Even more exciting, as alluded to here was the idea that there might be hidden passages within the book that you might stumble upon if only you took the right path.   

       When we did later get a computer, yes, those old text-based games were wonderful (I particularly liked the ones written by a company called Level 9) and I wouldn't mind having a go myself, if I ever get the time. I think 'interactive fiction' really has an important place in the world, and while it is generally regarded as low-brow, it really doesn't have to be.
zen_tom, Dec 07 2006

       //"Magic e"//   

       Yes, and the programme miraculously stopped shortly after the beginning of the Ecstasy generation, strange that ;-)   

       One of my favorite text adventures had to be Hitchikers Guide. I still have a copy. t is downloadable for free nowadays.
webfishrune, Dec 07 2006

       [zen_tom], if you are really fond of "interactive fiction" and are open to a slightly different format, you might also enjoy the Dennis Wheatley/J.G.Links series of murder mysteries, which were originally published in the 1930s and re-issued in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Each "book" represents an actual murder case dossier compiled by the original investigator, replete with actual murder scene photos, newspaper clippings, ticket stubs, bits of torn blood-stained fabric, cigarette butts, matchbooks, hair strands, poison pills, shell casings, and other forms of physical evidence. Your job as the reader is to read the dossier, examine all the evidence, and independently develop a theory of the crime. The four titles in the series I'm familiar with are the original "Murder Off Miami", "Who Killed Robert Prentice?", "The Malinsay Massacre", and "Herewith The Clues". Even the re-issued versions are absolute marvels of publishing that you have to see to appreciate for their verisimilitude to an actual crime dossier. I highly recommend them to folks who like a good murder mystery and can appreciate a much more interactive format than the usual detective fiction allows.
jurist, Dec 07 2006


YOU bask in the glory and adulation of your fellow halfbakers but, just a YOU begin to think what a wonderful life this is, YOU are crushed to death by a sudden avalanche of PASTRY.
DrBob, Dec 07 2006


In the afterlife YOU chuckle over yet another elementary typographical error from [DrBob] who just put "a" where he meant "as".
hippo, Dec 07 2006

       Gorge on this twitching croissant.
pertinax, Dec 08 2006

       I enjoyed this very much. and I cheat.
dentworth, Dec 08 2006

       <slowly sharpens large, pointy knife and thinks of hippo burgers>
DrBob, Dec 08 2006

       you wait in the long-grass and spring forth destroying the pleasant symmetry of the 36 croissants by converting them into a vulgar prime number 37.
xenzag, Dec 08 2006

       //When you look back//   

       Bun for that paragraph alone
BunsenHoneydew, Dec 12 2006

       //hidden passages//   

       Reminds me of, in my opinion, the best Fighting Fantasy book: The Creature of Havoc. It had a number of secrets that you needed to work out to complete the book, let alone find any bonuses.
Jinbish, Dec 13 2006

       [tom] I'm staggered and that's rare. Brilliant stuff. [+]
DocBrown, Dec 13 2006

       Ha that's quite funny - One of my pet hates at work is writing documentation - which, when I come to think about it, often does follow this kind of pattern (e.g. "If this process finishes, do this, otherwise, do something else." type documents) Perhaps I should go all the way, and write them out in an entirely CYOA type format.   

       [Jinbish] I was thinking of Creature of Havoc myself - there are some quite interesting puzzles, and points where the passages you are supposed to turn to are not explicitly referenced. Quite fiendish.
zen_tom, Dec 13 2006

       FLANG HOUND seems to get me no matter what I do.
bungston, Mar 18 2009

DrBob, Jun 02 2010

       The warlock of firetop mountain, did anyone ever open the F*uking chest! I didnt! Bloody thing, still have the book now and after seeing this idea I tried it again. 26 years later and its still mocking me! I need this bookmark as of right now or Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone's home address details so I can go and kick the living mana out of them for tormenting me for all these years. [+]
S-note, Jun 07 2010

       /kick the living mana out of them/   

       Heh! I'll move your Qi! Move it with my boot!   

       This is a great idea. Even with the freaking FLANG HOUND.
bungston, Jul 18 2012

       [+] There's truly some wasted genius on this site.
FlyingToaster, Jul 18 2012

       [DrBob] re youchosewrong.tumblr.com - what a great link, thanks for that!
zen_tom, Jul 18 2012

       [zen_tom], what happened to the CYOA pub escapade you started. I liked the illustrations...
theleopard, Jul 24 2012


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