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We stopped by the Tin Man Games booth this year at PAX 2011 to gaze at their literary wares and geek out with the founder about mystical lands of magic.
GameBook Adventures is something of a choose-your-own adventure game for the iPad. However, it's also a bit of an RPG, though it's very light on those bits. From our demo with the software the system seems like an RPG without all of the boring combat bits. Imagine Final Fantasy if you didn't have to spend 80 hours wandering around fighting random battles.
All of the focus is on the story content rather than being bogged down with a ton of mostly inconsequential combat. There is a bit of combat in these books, but they're conducted by way of quick dice rolls if you choose to battle a character in the book.
The system is inspired by an old series of fantasy books called Fighting Fantasy (in fact some of the creators of those books have signed on to create for GameBook Adventures) in which light role-playing elements were mixed in with storytelling.
The concept of this type of story may not be new, but it's being reinvented for the modern era with the help of the iPad 2. The only unappealing aspect of those original stories is that you had to draw up your own character stats and keep track of all your own data. Here the iPad takes care of that for you in its usual sleak and sexy glory.
Right now, the stories of GameBook Adventures occupy a consistent universe that intertwines between the stories. The app even comes with a map of the realm (which we learned was originally drawn up in its rudimentary form) by the company's founder when he was 15. It also features a full, up-to-date companion encyclopedia of the names and places of the series.
But Tin Man Games doesn't seem content to rest on their laurels with what they've achieved so far. The gamebooks seem grea thus far, but they want to continue pushing the genre. Which they're planning to do with a set of new sci-fi themed gamebooks, as well as a potential upcoming deal to create gamebooks about a "major comic book character." They weren't able to elaborate on what that means, but obviously that could have a huge impact on the popularity of these apps.