It was impossible to ignore the Fighting Fantasy series of books as a kid in the 80s. I grew up in a home where imagination was nurtured, with books and stories, and a well-used library card, never far from hand. How could I not be drawn to these books?
For those who don’t know, Fighting Fantasy were gamebooks – stories where the narrative was at the whim of the reader, who moved through the book from section to section, turning to different pages depending on the choices the reader wanted to make. These were massively popular, thanks to their innovation and the obvious pedigree of the contributors who loved developing new worlds for the readers to experience. I can’t understate how influential these stories were to me growing up – stories of dragons and wizards, stories of starships and robots, or stories of haunted houses and the ghosts and ghouls within.
The two men behind these stories, Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson, played a massive role in the childhoods of many people my age. In addition to these massively successful books, they also formed Games Workshop and launched Warhammer. They moved into computer games, too, not least with Livingstone’s Eidos company creating Lara Croft.
How’s that for a CV?
I’m heartened to see that the Fighting Fantasy books are still being released, and maybe another generation of readers can discover the exciting worlds and immersive stories that I did when I was younger.