Gears & Gadgets

Alexa, give me nostalgia: Choose Your Own Adventure skill debuts from Audible

A portion of the book cover for <em>The Abominable Snowman</em> by R.A. Montgomery.”><figcaption class=
A portion of the book cover for The Abominable Snowman by R.A. Montgomery.
ChooseCo

The classic children’s book series Choose Your Own Adventure is now an interactive Amazon Alexa skill, available today. The release is a partnership between Amazon-owned Audible and ChooseCo, the current owner of the Choose Your Own Adventure brand.

Founded in 2003 by R.A. Montgomery and Shannon Gilligan, ChooseCo has printed new editions of Choose Your Own Adventure books over the years. In the new Alexa skill, the story will be read to you, and then Alexa will beep whenever a choice that branches the narrative comes up. You just speak the choice to proceed.

It also comes with a few simple commands to help you navigate. Critically, and in the spirit of how kids read the books back in the day, you can say “go back” to revert a single scene if you think you’ve made a bad call. You can say “start over” to go back to the very beginning of the story, and you can say “change story” to switch from the one you’re listening to over to another one. Sadly, you can’t cheat by reading ahead like many kids have over the years.

There are just two stories so far: The Abominable Snowman and Journey Under the Sea, both of which have appeared in print before, and both of which were written by ChooseCo co-founder Montgomery.

Here’s the book description for The Abominable Snowman:

The Abominable Snowman by R. A. Montgomery takes YOU on a mountaineering adventure in search of the fabled Yeti, or Abominable Snowman! 9-12 year old readers will travel to Kathmandu and explore the Himalaya Mountains, negotiating harsh weather conditions, facing down a band of violent smugglers, following mysterious footprints in the snow, and maybe even finding the Yeti!

And for Journey Under the Sea:

Journey Under the Sea by R. A. Montgomery takes YOU on an undersea adventure in search of the lost city of Atlantis! 9-12 year old readers will explore the depths of the ocean in search of this mysterious and beautiful world, escaping giant squid and shark attacks, discovering shipwrecks, helping the merpeople rebel against a cruel monarchy, and escaping imprisonment!

The Abominable Snowman was also adapted into an interactive cartoon DVD in 2006. Earlier this month, ChooseCo filed a lawsuit against Netflix when the streaming platform called its experimental interactive movie Black Mirror: Bandersnatch a “choose your own adventure.”

The Alexa skill is available now on all Echo devices and Alexa-enabled smart speakers. To start it, you just say “Alexa, open Choose Your Own Adventure from Audible.” These aren’t the first interactive stories on the Alexa platform, but they’re the first that are Choose Your Own Adventure stories.

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Tech – Ars Technica

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