Choose Your Own Adventure

Hi everyone,

Ben Ferrel, Ashley Bayles, and I (Dan Tinaburri) have just published our project! It’s a Choose Your Own Adventure style narrative on the publishing industry from the perspective of a prospective artist. Be warned: there’s no way to “cheat” your way through this the way you can with the books just by flipping pages. You will have to navigate through the storyline multiple times to get the full experience of what we’ve created. We hope you enjoy your adventure! And, as always, feedback is most welcome.


Ashley, Ben, & Dan

PS: For the curious, this is a “map” I’ve used with students to help them plan their own CYOA stories. It helped us to get started.

And, as promised, here is a map of our CYOA project (if you’re curious):

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15 Responses to Choose Your Own Adventure

  1. Jessica Dickens says:

    Wow! What an astoundingly creative concept! I have always loved Choose Your Own Adventure style stories and I would love to use this idea with my class. It is incredibly interdisciplinary as well; I could picture using history, scientific inventions, statistics and, of course, creative writing in the creation. How did you come up with the concept?
    My only issue was perhaps with using created content for your videos. Why did you decide to do this? It was interesting and beautiful, I just wonder what it might teach our students about ownership in art.

    • benferrel says:

      Hi Jessica,

      All of the content that was remixed into our videos is from the creative commons, and thus has attributions attached in the Youtube Video information. We used creative commons videos because of the incredible content that is available through this resource and the incredible amount of time that creating all original video content would have taken. As this project was largely an exploration of the web as a medium for a hyper-text form of our childhood Choose Your Own Adventure stories, we spent more time on the design and structure of the narrative than would have been possible had we worked from scratch with all of the video content.

      I think that it is very important to teach students that collaboration and sharing are aspects of all creative works, but that we should respect an author if they do not wish to share their material. That is why the Creative Commons licensing system is such an important system, it enables rip.mix.feed collaboration while respecting the wishes of the authors of the content or its derivatives through an opt-in policy.


  2. rebeccaharrison says:

    I also have always been fascinated by the CYOA stories! This project demonstrates how hyperlinks can add new layers to an old format. Videos, images and audio definitely extend the possibilities of the already existing format.

  3. boon says:

    I really enjoyed and felt engaged with your project. Aesthetically, it was clean and polished looking. The series of choices (I want to be …) kept me hooked. I love the CYOA format and I had played with this video, but it is super time consuming. I would totally considering laying something out this format (with pieces of video and using text). Would love to sign in and see ‘behind the scenes’ on this site to the see the branching structure of it and how you set it up. It sure takes a lot planning to create these branching type interections, but you guys made it seamless and flowing. Stacey

  4. maubanel says:

    I am curious to what you thought about branching story lines. I have worked on a few video games that never got released that tried this in interactive form. The math does get away from you pretty quickly that after each branch, it doubles your content. This becomes exponential in terms of amount of content to fill in the more you branch. Did you find the same thing, that you needed a lot of content to provide a short “completion” time?


    • Dan says:

      Yes, absolutely. The first step was in laying out a structure for the narrative so that we could plan the content and see where the decisions went. We definitely had to pare down the original plan because we originally wanted multiple timelines and characters. We had a whole other story line that took place in Ancient Athens and would have mirrored the New York story!


      • Yes, it would have been really great to work on this with a few different groups, so that each group works on a different timeline to compile one massive CYOA storyline. It would have been great if we could have kept our Ancient Anthens storyline as well, but the scope was just too large for us to be able to complete that to the standard we wanted in the timeframe we had for this assignment.

  5. kgill says:

    What a fun project, it’s so creative and looks really great! Thanks for sharing your map, it really helps to lay out the process clearly. CYOA’s are the best!!

  6. Lisa Nevoral says:

    Way to go, Ashley, Ben, and Dan! I thought you did an excellent job on your project.

    There were a couple things stood out for me in your Artist Statement. First, was your comment, “To that end, the technology should not get in the way, nor should it impose its presence on the reader. Ugly design and a clunky interface would only detract from the underlying goal of this project. We want you to embrace and explore the journey of the writer and to enjoy the beautiful design along the way.” I fully agree with this statement. I’ve been to sites where the information has been good but the layout was very distracting or it was hard to find your way around. I believe that a site should have easy navigation, be intuitive, and visually appealing.

    Secondly, the comment your group made “Our project is firmly grounded within the belief that knowledge is constructed and that no two learners take the same path to understanding. To that end, this piece reflects the need to have and make choices, and to allow each individual to explore and navigate their own path through a rich and varied landscape” really made me think of discussions I’ve been having at school about differentiation. Students learn in different ways and at different rates. As well, your project provided interaction, intrigue, and several different Web 2.0 tools. This hooked me and sparked my interest. Hopefully I can do the same thing for my own students.


    • Thanks for your feedback Lisa!

      This project has also inspired me to think of more interactive ways to engage my students, but realizing the amount of time that we put in to creating this CYOA project makes me have to accept that it is simply not always possible to do everything we would want to do for our students. Ideally we can start slowly and build upon resources year after year.

      • Lisa Nevoral says:

        Hi Ashley,

        You have touched upon what I tell lots of teachers scared to try something new – start off slowly and build upon it year after year. Even incorporating one new thing into one unit is a good thing.


  7. dchrisman says:

    This was such a fun project to look at! Although I was a little discouraged that I died so quickly the first time. I think there is a lot of great information that is presented in such a fun, interesting way. Great job, I love the interactive component, and I love the mixed modes of presenting information.

  8. emonks says:

    Wow! I love this totally engaging project! I have never seen anything like this other than in video games and loved the hyperlinking to the possible choices you provided. I will certainly be looking at something like this to do with my students in the future! So many things to be trying out once the dust settles and I can revisit all of the wonderful resources that everyone has created and provided. Great job on this!

  9. dsouzacl says:

    Great job Ben, Ashley, and Dan!

    I liked how you used digital tools like weebly, youtube, etc. to create a seamless CYOA for the visitor. I found myself wanting to go back and see what other routes were available to me as a 1990s artist. This type of project would be totally engaging for students and teachers alike. Thanks for also sharing your project map, which stresses the importance of good planning!

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