“Choose your own adventure” experiences are all the rage these days — you needn’t look further than HBO’s Mosaic and Netflix’s Bandersnatch for evidence. Over the years, a handful have made their way to Amazon’s Alexa assistant, like the Batman-themed Wayne Investigation and medieval role-playing games The Magic Door, Yes Sire, and Dungeon Adventure. Now, Amazon’s Audible division and ChooseCo are teaming up to capitalize further on the trend with two new audiobooks for kids.
The Abominable Snowman and Journey Under the Sea — which are available for free via Vermont-based ChooseCo’s Choose Your Own Adventure skill on Alexa-powered devices such as Amazon’s Echo lineup — were jointly designed by Audible and ChooseCo’s teams, according to the companies, and were adapted from the latter’s sizeable Choose Your Own Adventure book series. Both stories are narrated by professional voice actors and navigated with voice-based controls (for example, “go back” and “start over”) and offer a collective 65 different endings determined by decisions made throughout the course of each chapter. On Alexa devices with screens, like the Echo Show, illustrations accompany major story beats.
To give the new stories a go, say “Alexa, open Choose Your Own Adventure from Audible.” You’ll be prompted to provide permission and asked to choose between the aforementioned titles. An audible sound will indicate when it’s time to make a decision. In the event you meet an untimely end, you’ll be given the choice of either undoing your decision or exploring how things might have unfolded differently if you’d selected another path. (The skill keeps a running tally of endings you’ve discovered.)
ChooseCo’s skill joins Storyflow, a similar branching storyline platform that offers custom content and features voice actors and sound effects. Other such experiments to date include Westworld: The Maze, Earplay, 20th Century Fox’s Offworld Colony Simulator, and the New York Times‘ Choose-Your-Own-News Adventure, which presumably won’t be the last — especially if ChooseCo’s new skill takes off.
Alexa isn’t the only voice assistant with “choose your own adventure” content, it’s worth noting. In November 2018, Google Home saw the launch of the Wiggles app, which lets kids kick off games, sing along to songs, and practice core skills with their quixotic Australian pals.