Thursday, October 17, 2013

"Choose Your Own Nightmare", Windows, 1997.

Let's establish the correct sequence here. First, in the '80s, the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure gamebook publishing phenomenon sweeps children's libraries everywhere. Then, in the '90s, the series' popularity wanes as a certain appetite for juvenile horror lit (cf. "Fear Street", "Goosebumps") rises. Someone thinks that these two currents would go well together, hence Goosebumps begets the "Give Yourself Goosebumps" gamebook series, and CYOA spawns the Choose Your Own Nightmare spin-off. But because this is the '90s, one always has the additional option of making a wretched "interactive movie" multimedia CD-ROM as well. I don't know for certain that that's what we've got here, but the odds aren't in its favour of escaping from the shadow.
big>Your Worst Nightmare is About to come true... again... and again... and again...

Introducing Choose Your Own Nightmare, the interactive Multipath Movies where you control your fate.

From the spine-tingling Bantam Doubleday Dell book series, Choose Your Own Nightmare, come two eerie, animated, 3D creature features for your PC. The Halloween Party, where "scared to death" takes on new meaning thanks to a sorceress with murder on her mind. And Night Of The Werewolf, a bloodcurdling thriller that reveals the animal within us all. As the monstrous thrills and chills unfold, use the keyboard to control the plot twists. With dozens of plot paths and multiple endings, play each movie again and again until all your worst nightmares come true.

If the Multipath people were aspiring for too little with CyberSwine, perhaps here their reach exceeded their grasp. All I know is I see three screenshots, depicting a gremlin head, a ghost, and a gargoyle head -- but no sorceress or werewolf. (The first shot simply replicates assets already present on the depicted box artwork!) I believe there were a few double-feature bundles of these CYON horror-themed multipath movies, but virtually all of the cultural threads it drew on had a limited shelf life and it wasn't long before it seemed hopelessly dated. Which makes it a prime target for my privileged look back.