Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Love of the Choice

9781933390017_2 I love writing CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE. It’s more than 30 years now.  What a trip and still going.
What is it about CHOOSE that makes it so engaging, so exciting, so powerful?  It’s simple:  YOU are at the heart of the whole thing---the story, the adventure, the experiment, the crisis, the development of society.  CHOOSE is simulation design and game theory and story-telling all wrapped into one.
I want to talk about all these things and about the history of CHOOSE.  So, here goes  (if you get bored, skip it and look at the random pictures I post). Ask me questions.  Tell me things: what you think, like, dislike, want, believe. We are all in this together.
First off, simulation design is all about creating a model of reality and putting that model through its paces without the risk of the real world. Examples:  boat models in wave tanks, aircraft designs in wind tunnels, architects models of house or buildings, sand box war games, moot court trials in law school, case study in business schools.  And then interactive fiction in which the YOU ( reader) make choices leading to different outcomes. The YOU is totally in control of his/her choices and can go back and do it over or re-do it if the choices selected don’t work out to their liking.  What a powerful experience!
Role-playing simulation games are quite similar and go even further because there are no pre-determined outcomes.  I wrote and developed a batch of role-playing simulation games in the 70’s for such diverse clients as the US PEACE Corps to help overseas staff prepare for their assignments, for school curriculum projects about energy and the environment, legal systems, history etc.  More about simulations later, but they are powerful teaching/learning tools for people of all ages---kids to re-tirees.
Oh, oh!  Got to go. Later, dudes.

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