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The Most Bizarre '80s Choose Your Own Adventure-Style Books

Back in the days before video games became as ubiquitous as they are today, Choose Your Own Adventure books were the escape from reality of choice for young boys (and girls) the world over. About 250 million of them were sold in the ’80s and early ’90s, and as with any great idea, they spawned a slew of imitators. Some of these were pretty much direct copies, but others tried to put their own spin on the choose-from-two-options-and-turn-to-the-appropriate-page idea – and occasionally did so with hilarious results. Did you know, for instance, that there was a series called Do-It-Yourself Jewish Adventure, featuring exciting titles like “Escape from the Holocaust” and “Until the Messiah Comes”? Over at Gamebooks.org, there’s an exhaustive and frequently fascinating archive of the genre’s weirdest and most wonderful moments. We’ve chosen ten of our favorites after the jump.

Too Soon for Sex?

Even to someone whose age is still in single figures, the single lamest thing that a book/game/movie/cartoon/etc. can do is make an overt attempt to convey some sort of moral. Kids are smart enough to know when their emotions are being diddled with, and they generally don’t take kindly to it. Sadly, this fact largely evaded the authors of Too Soon for Sex? – one look at the cover and you know the answer’s unlikely to be “Nope – it’s time to start shagging like rabbits in spring! Get into it!” This series also included the titles “Taking Chances with Sex” and, hilariously, “Don’t Let It Get Around” (in which “Tom and Tracy face the realities of sexually transmitted disease”).

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