The "50 Years" Book is coming...
It's been a quiet 2022 on this list, but I've been hard at work since the series wrapped up on the next step in the project: collecting and revising these articles into a definitive, stylish book. I've set a date in early June to launch a crowdfunding campaign for it, and over the next six weeks I'll be sharing more as we gear up for launch. Get hyped, folks, it's happening!
Some highlights of the book over over the online posts:
Revised, final versions of all fifty articles (many of which have been improved immeasurably by your feedback)
New material, including a meaty look into the early pre-history of digital text games, and an introduction to each decade framing its articles in the broader context of computer and gaming history
A year-by-year guide to other noteworthy text games of the past half century, across many genres and styles
Sidebars full of interesting tidbits and anecdotes that couldn't fit into the main articles
A full release history and research bibliography for each game
Maps, flowcharts, and other custom made visual aids to help understand the structure of many of the games
I've spent a lot of time refining the book's layout to be beautiful and functional. Here's a quick sneak peek at a couple page spreads, the first from the piece on The Cave of Time (Choose Your Own Adventure #1):
…and the second introducing the second block of ten games:
What do you think? Getting excited? Seeing this stuff laid out and ready to go is definitely giving me life as I work through shepherding the 200,000+ words of this project into a new format.
If the crowdfunding campaign is successful, I'm hoping to offer the book in a digital version (in PDF and a reflowable ebook format) as well as offset-printed paperback and hardcover editions. Offset printing is the same process used by professional publishers, and guarantees sharp crisp blacks for text and images, quality paper and binding, and covers that look and feel like “real books” (as opposed to the more basic versions you get with print-on-demand). I'm especially excited about the hardcover, which is going to be a truly stunning collector's edition: a gorgeous, hefty tome that'll look great on your bookshelf or coffee table and will be sure to start a conversation or two. More on that in the coming weeks.
Here, though, is where I'm going to need your help.
I'm currently planning to launch the book on Kickstarter in early June. Historically, Kickstarter and Twitter have been some of the biggest drivers of traffic to my projects. But both are in somewhat precarious positions right now, and this means I can't rely on these platforms to make this project succeed. Word of mouth will be more important than ever to help this book find its audience. To do the offset print runs and make the book as stunning as it deserves to be, I'm going to need to hit a fairly ambitious funding goal and expand the audience for this project beyond you lovely loyal subscribers to this list.
So: if you have followers or an audience who might enjoy a beautiful, definitive book about the incredible history of interactive prose, I'd love to talk to you about how we get the word out to them. Do you run a podcast, a Discord, or a stream covering geek culture, retro games, indie books, or interesting history? Do you have followers into 80s nostalgia, indie games, or interactive fiction? I'd love to hear from you and chat about ways I could provide some great content for you (an interview, a Q&A, an exclusive reveal, a feature article) and also help get the news about this project out to the people who'd love to find out about it. You can reply to this message to reach me, or email directly (aareed on gmail).
For everyone else: when the campaign launches, your help sharing the news to your own friends and communities will be invaluable—I’ll have some ready made links, images, and other resources for folks to use once we’re ready to launch.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more exclusive early looks at the book and the really cool backer rewards I'm lining up for the campaign, as well as a couple more history posts stemming from my latest research into the pre-70s dawn of digital text games. Excited as always to be on this journey with you!