Friday, 18 January 2013

Biggest Gamebook Ever

Most people prefer longer gamebooks to shorter ones; after all longer gamebooks do offer more space for narrative, exploration and gaming. In this day and age authors are pushing the limits, and the gamebooks being published are much larger than the averge 80s gamebook. These massive gamebooks also feature complex rules and mechanics to go with their massive sizes. Floating around the internet are many different claims as to which gamebook is the longest ever written, with common answers being Crown of Kings, any of the Fabled Lands, or either DestinyQuest book. However I have decided to write this article to properly identify the record holders for largest gamebook ever.

Firstly we must define what we mean by “largest gamebook ever” as there are several ways to measure a gamebook’s size. A gamebook’s size can be measured by the number of pages in the book, the word count of the book, the number of sections in the book and the thickness of the book. Each of these methods has its own advantages and disadvantages for demonstrating the size of the gamebook. Furthermore, surprisingly, each of these categories has a different “winner”. However without access to an easy means of doing an accurate word count or comparison of thickness, I will be comparing the largest gamebooks out there by number pages and number of reference sections. Note that this article only takes into account print copies of books, and takes into account books of all languages. So without further ado here is a breakdown of each of the categories and their “winners”.

Number of pages
The as of 2013 the gamebook with the most pages is German author Swen Harder’s Reiter der Schwarzen Sonne, “Rider of the Black Sun”, winning with an astounding 740 pages! This gamebook is truly a monster in size featuring an intricate combat and special ability system to go with it. For English readers, Michael J Ward’s Heart of Fire is a close second with 736 pages. Though there isn’t much doubt in my mind that Ward’s next book The Eye of Winter’s Fury will break the record in the near future.

Number of Reference Sections
French author Patrick Colthias’ 1789 Qui seriez-vous? Que feriez-vous?, “1789 Who would you be? What would you do?” wins by far with a jaw-dropping 2450 sections! Written over two decades ago, this book hasn’t had any other books come even close to beating it’s record. I doubt this one is going to get beat for quite a while. For English readers, again Michael J Ward wins with the Gollacz edition of The Legion of Shadow having a little of 900 sections.

Possible Runners Up
Fabled lands are large gamebooks even when separate (679-786 sections each), but if compiled and completed (as Dave Morris has implied he would like to do) it would shatter all of these records seeing as half the series already has 4366 section and close to 1000 pages. a good guess is that the full series would have more than double that.
The Lonewolf series follows the same character’s adventures from books 1-18, so comibining all of them into one book would be possible and would result in a gamebook of approximately 6350 sections over 3000 pages.

I hope this article becomes "out of date" soon; I love to see authors push their creative limits in creating vast worlds to explore via in gamebooks. While I do like to write and read short and sweet gamebooks to be enjoyed during a few minutes of spare time, my favourite gamebooks are those that take up a good amount of space on my bookshelf and allow me to become fully immersed in them for hours. Now I want to hear what YOU have to say about the above methods of measuring the size a gamebook? How long do YOU think these records are going to hold? Do YOU prefer a long adventure, and medium sized one, or a short one? Lastly do YOU know of any other large gamebooks that should have been mentioned?