Fighting Fantasy is a series of single-player role-playing gamebooks created by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone. The first volume in the series was published in paperback by Puffin in 1982; the series distinguished itself by mixing Choose Your Own Adventure-style storytelling with a dice-based role-playing element included within the books themselves. The caption on many of the covers claimed each title was an adventure "in which YOU are the hero!" The majority of the titles followed a fantasy theme, although science fiction, post-apocalyptic and modern horror gamebooks were published. The popularity of the series led to the creation of merchandise such as action figures, board games, role-playing game systems, magazines and video games. Puffin ended the series in 1995, but the rights to the series were purchased by Wizard Books in 2002. Wizard published new editions of the original books and commissioned six new books over two series, ending in 2012; the rights were acquired by Scholastic in 2017, which has since published two new titles and reissued ten of the original books with new artwork.
The main text of each gamebook does not progress in a linear fashion, but rather is divided into a series of numbered sections. Beginning at the first section, the reader must pick one of a series of options provided by the text, each option being detailed at a separate non-sequential numbered section which in turn provides an outcome for the option chosen; the book continues in this fashion until their character is killed in combat, is stopped by the story, or completes the story. “Fighting Fantasy gamebooks empower the reader, who felt the anxiety or joy of being fantasy heroes themselves – they lived or died by their decisions. And if at first you don’t succeed and try again,” said Ian Livingstone of the format; the typical Fighting Fantasy gamebook tasks players with completing a quest. A successful play ends with the player reaching the final numbered section of the book. In some cases this can only be achieved by obtaining various story items. All Fighting Fantasy gamebooks are illustrated, including full-page pieces and smaller, repeated images scattered throughout the book as breaks or space fillers between sections.
Regular contributors included Les Edwards, Terry Oakes, Russ Nicholson, Leo Hartas, Ian Miller, John Blanche, Martin McKenna, Iain McCaig. Each Fighting Fantasy gamebook requires the reader to create their character, randomly assigning scores to three statistics. These, in conjunction with rolling six-sided dice, are used to resolve skill challenges and the combat sections; some titles use conflict resolution mechanics. Most early Fighting Fantasy titles were set in locations revealed to be on the same continent called Allansia. On a whole world named Titan was developed with subsequent gamebooks set on three main continents - Allansia and the Old World. Other titles are set in unrelated fantasy, modern day, sci-fi environments. In 1980, Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone attended a Games Day, after meeting with a Penguin Books editor Geraldine Cook decided to create a series of single-player gamebooks, their first submission, The Magic Quest, was a short adventure intended to demonstrate the style of game.
The Magic Quest was accepted by Penguin, although the authors devoted a further six months to expanding and improving upon their original concept. The end result was The Warlock of Firetop Mountain and, after several rewrites, the book was accepted and published in 1982 under Penguin's children's imprint, Puffin Books. Following the success of this title and Livingstone began writing individually to create additional Fighting Fantasy gamebooks. In 1983, The Citadel of Chaos and The Forest of Doom were published, by Jackson and Livingstone respectively. Four more titles followed: Starship Traveller, City of Thieves, Deathtrap Dungeon and Island of the Lizard King. In 1984, a decision was made to hire more writers to continue the series: Steve Jackson was the first, followed by others such as Andrew Chapman, Carl Sargent, Marc Gascoigne, Peter Darvill-Evans. Jackson and Livingstone, continued to be involved and approved all cover and internal illustrations within the UK. Jackson wrote a self-contained four-part series titled Steve Jackson's Sorcery!, which combined the use of combat and sorcery, introduced the continent known as the Old World.
These featured dice images at the bottom of each page, making it possible for the player to randomly flip through the pages for the equivalent of a dice roll. Andrew Chapman and Martin Allen wrote a two-book, two-player adventure titled Clash of the Princes. There were several supplemental books produced that provided more information about the Fighting Fantasy universe, including a comprehensive bestiary of monsters and a sample adventure. Although the Fighting Fantasy titles had successful sales the increasing dominance of video games in the 1990s caused a gradual decline; the series was scheduled to conclude with Return to Firetop Mountain, but due to strong sale
Island of the Lizard King
Island of the Lizard King is a single-player adventure gamebook written by Ian Livingstone, illustrated by Alan Langford. Published by Puffin Books in 1984, the title is the seventh gamebook in the Fighting Fantasy series, it was republished by Wizard Books in 2002. A digital version developed by Tin Man Games was released for Android and iOS; the player takes the role of an adventurer tasked with stopping the Lizard King and freeing the human slaves captured by his army. Gameplay takes the form of a campaign: battling Lizard Men and various other monsters across the island whilst collecting information as to the Lizard King's weakness, which will be required during the final confrontation. Marcus L. Rowland reviewed Island of the Lizard King for the May 1984 issue of White Dwarf, rating the title 8 out of a possible 10. Rowland claimed that Island of the Lizard King "seemed to contain more monsters and less traps than others in the series, most of the traps seemed to be fair", concluding that this was "probably the toughest adventure of this series, since few options allow the adventurer to avoid a fight".
A digital version developed by Tin Man Games is available for Android and iOS. Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks - the official website Wizard Books - the Publisher's site
Talisman of Death
Talisman of Death is a single-player role-playing gamebook written by Jamie Thomson and Mark Smith, illustrated by Bob Harvey and published in 1984 by Puffin Books. It was republished by Wizard Books in 2006, it forms part of Steve Ian Livingstone's Fighting Fantasy series. It is the 11th in 24th in the modern Wizard series. Talisman of Death is a fantasy scenario in which the hero must destroy the Talisman of Death before the dark lord's minions can use it to unleash Death upon the world of the Orb; the player is given a mission to protect the world of Orb from the "Evil One", by protecting the Talisman of Death. Unlike most other Fighting Fantasy books, the player is presented as an ordinary person from Earth, drawn into the world of Orb by the will of the gods. In this book the player is given the task of protecting the Talisman of Death; the player must find a way of returning to their own world with the Talisman, thus depriving the god Death of the Talisman forever. Talisman of Death is the only Fighting Fantasy gamebook set in the fantasy world of Orb, a creation of Thomson and Smith for their Way of the Tiger series of gamebooks.
The majority of the story is spent in the city of "Greyguilds-on-the-moor". Characters that appear in Talisman of Death, such as Tyutchev and Thaum appear in the Way of the Tiger series. Bob Harvey reprises his role as the illustrator of the series. Smith's Virtual Reality volume The Coils of Hate featured an appearance by Tyutchev the swordsman. "Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks on gamebooks.org". "Talisman of Death on gamebooks.org". "Talisman of Death on the Internet Archive record of the old fightingfantasy.com site". Archived from the original on November 27, 2005. Official sites: "Talisman of Death on the official Fighting Fantasy website". Archived from the original on 2007-04-11. "Talisman of Death on the Wizard Books website". Archived from the original on 2006-05-09. Magazines: "Open Box". White Dwarf: 6–7. June 1985
Freeway Fighter is a single-player roleplaying gamebook written by Ian Livingstone, illustrated by Kevin Bulmer and published in 1985 by Puffin Books. It was republished by Wizard Books in 2005, it forms part of Steve Ian Livingstone's Fighting Fantasy series. It is the 13th in the series in the original Puffin 23rd in the modern Wizard series. Freeway Fighter was the first Fighting Fantasy title after House of Hell to feature an additional game mechanic: both the player's character and their vehicle have attributes for combat, as there is a combination of both individual and vehicle-based combat; the player's vehicle must be continually supplied with petrol, with the fuel gauge reaching zero resulting in failure and ending the game. The title features only 380 references as opposed to the typical 400. In Freeway Fighter, to save his town of New Hope, the hero must cross the wilderness to bring back needed supplies from the oil refinery at San Anglo. Game designer Lawrence Schick describes the scenario as being the same type as Mad Car Wars.
The story takes places in a post-apocalyptic United States, after much of the world's population has fallen victim to a deadly plague. The survivors huddle together in isolated settlements, while the roads are dominated by lawless nomads in armed vehicles; the player takes the role of a citizen of the town New Hope who must drive their armed Dodge Interceptor motorcar across the wastes in order to procure a tanker filled with a fresh supply of petrol for their community. The story provides a secondary quest: locating and rescuing a kidnapped New Hope leader from outlaws. A comic series based on Freeway Fighter was published by Titan Books in May 2017. Freeway Warrior, four post-apocalyptic gamebooks written by Joe Dever, known for the Lone Wolf series "Freeway Fighter on the official Fighting Fantasy website". "Freeway Fighter on the Wizard Books website". "Freeway Fighter on gamebooks.org". "Freeway Fighter on the Internet Archive record of the old fightingfantasy.com site". Archived from the original on April 3, 2005
Armies of Death
Armies Of Death is a single-player roleplaying gamebook written by Ian Livingstone, illustrated by Nik Williams and published in 1988 by Puffin Books. It was republished by Wizard Books in 2003, it forms part of Steve Ian Livingstone's Fighting Fantasy series. It is the 36th in 14th in the modern Wizard series; the story features an additional game mechanic: both the player's character and their army have attributes for combat, as there is a combination of individual and mass battles. Armies of Death is a direct sequel to the Fighting Fantasy title Trial of Champions; the player assumes the role of the winner of the Trial. With the continent Allansia threatened by the evil Shadow Demon Agglax and his growing undead army, the adventurer must use their newfound-riches to raise an army to stop the threat. Despite being a sequel storywise, the gameplay has little in common with the two previous entries, as the player is no longer exploring a dungeon. "Armies of Death on the official Fighting Fantasy website".
Archived from the original on 2007-06-17. "Armies of Death on the Wizard Books website". "Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks on gamebooks.org". "Armies of Death on gamebooks.org". "Armies of Death on the Internet Archive record of the old fightingfantasy.com site". Archived from the original on November 27, 2005
Return to Firetop Mountain
Return to Firetop Mountain is a single-player roleplaying gamebook written by Ian Livingstone and illustrated by Martin McKenna. It was published in 1992 by Puffin Books and was republished by Wizard Books in 2003; the gamebook forms part of Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone's Fighting Fantasy series, where it is the 50th volume in the original Puffin series and the 16th in the Wizard series. It is a sequel to the first Fighting Fantasy book, The Warlock of Firetop Mountain and was written to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Fighting Fantasy. Planned to be the final book in the series, it proved to be unexpectedly popular and prolonged the life of the series for an additional three years; the reader must defeat the resurrected Warlock Zagor. The book fleshes out the details of Zagor and the area Northern Allansia in the world of Fighting Fantasy. In The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, Zagor was portrayed as a reclusive Warlock, guarding the treasure chest in the heart of a mountain, the player's objective was only to obtain the treasure by slaying Zagor.
In the sequel, Zagor is instead portrayed as an evil wizard, once slain by a heroic adventurer years ago and is now resurrected, seeking revenge on Allansia. The reader takes the role of another adventurer, this time their objective is not to gain the treasure, but to rid Allansia of the evil Zagor. Unlike the first book the player must traverse the land to get to the mountain before facing its dangers. In addition, the second half of the mountain has been changed, giving the player no particular advantage from knowledge of the layout provided in The Warlock of Firetop Mountain. There are several references to the original gamebook, including a case that housed an arrow in the original book, found to be empty. A trap involving a sword disguised as a lever reappears. There is a portrait of Ian Livingstone hidden in the interior art of the game book, it is the face of the Inquisitor carrying a sword and dagger in the picture for reference number 262. Artist Martin McKenna added the author’s face to his artwork for all of the game books he illustrated that were written by Livingstone.
By the time Return to Firetop Mountain was published, the Puffin Fighting Fantasy series was nearing its end. The series may not have continued after this title, however due to its unexpected popularity Puffin published another nine books before they ended the series; the character Zagor appeared in The Zagor Chronicles series of novels written by Carl Sargent. Ian Livingstone received a co-author credit for each of the novels, but in reality only supplied the series title.. Zagor featured in Legend of Zagor, the Fighting Fantasy gamebook written by Sargent based on the novels and the Legend of Zagor board game designed by Livingstone; the Special Limited Edition of the Wizard version used gold embossing as opposed to the usual silver. "Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks on gamebooks.org". "Return to Firetop Mountain on gamebooks.org". "Return to Firetop Mountain on the Internet Archive record of the old fightingfantasy.com site". Archived from the original on November 27, 2005. Official sites: "Return to Firetop Mountain on the official Fighting Fantasy website".
Archived from the original on 2007-04-09. "Return to Firetop Mountain on the Wizard Books website". Archived from the original on 2007-08-13
The ZX Spectrum is an 8-bit personal home computer released in the United Kingdom in 1982 by Sinclair Research. Referred to during development as the ZX81 Colour and ZX82, it was launched as the ZX Spectrum by Sinclair to highlight the machine's colour display, compared with the black and white of its predecessor, the ZX81; the Spectrum was released as eight different models, ranging from the entry level with 16 KB RAM released in 1982 to the ZX Spectrum +3 with 128 KB RAM and built in floppy disk drive in 1987. The Spectrum was among the first mainstream-audience home computers in the UK, similar in significance to the Commodore 64 in the US; the introduction of the ZX Spectrum led to a boom in companies producing software and hardware for the machine, the effects of which are still seen. Some credit it as the machine. Licensing deals and clones followed, earned Clive Sinclair a knighthood for "services to British industry"; the Commodore 64, Dragon 32, Oric-1, Oric Atmos, BBC Micro and the Amstrad CPC range were rivals to the Spectrum in the UK market during the early 1980s.
While the machine was discontinued in 1992, new software titles continue to be released – over 40 so far in 2018. The Spectrum is based on a Zilog Z80 A CPU running at 3.5 MHz. The original model has 16 KB of ROM and either 16 KB or 48 KB of RAM. Hardware design was by Richard Altwasser of Sinclair Research, the outward appearance was designed by Sinclair's industrial designer Rick Dickinson. Video output is through an RF modulator and was designed for use with contemporary television sets, for a simple colour graphic display. Text can be displayed using 32 columns × 24 rows of characters from the ZX Spectrum character set or from a set provided within an application, from a palette of 15 shades: seven colours at two levels of brightness each, plus black; the image resolution is 256×192 with the same colour limitations. To conserve memory, colour is stored separate from the pixel bitmap in a low resolution, 32×24 grid overlay, corresponding to the character cells. In practice, this means that all pixels of an 8x8 character block share one foreground colour and one background colour.
Altwasser received a patent for this design. An "attribute" consists of a foreground and a background colour, a brightness level and a flashing "flag" which, when set, causes the two colours to swap at regular intervals; this scheme leads to what was dubbed colour clash or attribute clash, where a desired colour of a specific pixel could not be selected. This became a distinctive feature of the Spectrum, meaning programs games, had to be designed around this limitation. Other machines available around the same time, for example the Amstrad CPC or the Commodore 64, did not suffer from this limitation; the Commodore 64 used colour attributes in a similar way, but a special multicolour mode, hardware sprites and hardware scrolling were used to avoid attribute clash. Sound output is through a beeper on the machine itself, capable of producing one channel with 10 octaves. Software was available that could play two channel sound; the machine includes an expansion bus edge connector and 3.5 mm audio in/out ports for the connection of a cassette recorder for loading and saving programs and data.
The "ear" port has a higher output than the "mic" and is recommended for headphones, with "mic" for attaching to other audio devices as line in. It was manufactured in Scotland, in the now closed Timex factory; the machine's Sinclair BASIC interpreter is stored in ROM and was written by Steve Vickers on contract from Nine Tiles Ltd. The Spectrum's chiclet keyboard is marked with BASIC keywords. For example, pressing "G" when in programming mode would insert the BASIC command GO TO; the BASIC interpreter was developed from that used on the ZX81 and a ZX81 BASIC program can be typed into a Spectrum unmodified, but Spectrum BASIC included many extra features making it easier to use. The ZX Spectrum character set was expanded from that of the ZX81, which did not feature lower-case letters. Spectrum BASIC included extra keywords for the more advanced display and sound, supported multi-statement lines; the cassette interface was much more advanced and loading around five times faster than the ZX81, unlike the ZX81, the Spectrum could maintain the TV display during tape storage and retrieval operations.
As well as being able to save programs, the Spectrum could save the contents of arrays, the contents of the screen memory, the contents of any defined range of memory addresses. Rick Dickinson came up with a number of designs for the "ZX82" project before the final ZX Spectrum design. A number of the keyboard legends changed during the design phase including ARC becoming CIRCLE, FORE becoming INK and BACK becoming PAPER; the Spectrum reused a number of design elements of the ZX81: The ROM code for things such as floating point calculations and expression parsing were similar. The simple keyboard decoding and cassette interfaces were nearly identical; the central ULA integrated circuit was somewhat similar although it implemented the major enhancement over the ZX81: A hardware based television raster generator that indirectly gave the new machine four times as much processing power as the ZX81 due to the Z80 now being released from this video generation task. A bug in the ULA as designed