Saturday 5 January 2013

The Gamebook Renaissance: Knightmare

If you were a child at the end of the 80s or start of the 90s, then you probably remember Knightmare. It was, for its time, an innovative virtual reality adventure set within a magical dungeon world, and it was on children's television.

Being a loyal devotee of the cult of Fighting Fantasy it seemed obvious to me that the programme was born off the back of the success of the gamebook phenomenon (and RPGs like Dungeons and Dragons of course).

It was a much tamer experience than your average FF adventure. There were no orcs to gut or horrifically described death scenes, but there was still the wandering around a labyrinth of gothically-decorated rooms, weird quasi-medieval characters to chew the fat with, and even some monsters (like the green-screened pet tarantula).

For those of you who remember Knightmare and the dungeon master Treguard (the fantastic Hugo Myatt), then the following will probably fill you with feelings of nostalgia. If you were born after the advent of real VR interactive gameplay and the phenomenal rise of the games consoles, then you don't know what you've missed.

Except that you can find out today (and tomorrow) at 2.00pm on CITV!

I have a feeling I'll probably end up mentioning Knightmare in YOU ARE THE HERO - A History of Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks too! ;-)

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