Owners of Amazon Alexa devices now have a new skill to try out: Choose Your Own Adventure audiobooks.
Choose Your Own Adventure was a wildly successful genre in children's books, starting in the 1970s. Instead of reading a linear narrative, readers would be prompted to make key decisions throughout the book and jump to respective pages to see what endings their choices led to.
Now, publisher Chooseco has adapted two of its Choose Your Own Adventure stories – The Abominable Snowman and Journey Under the Sea, both by R.A. Montgomery – into interactive Alexa audiobooks.
Through a partnership with Amazon-owned Audible, the new Alexa skill uses Amazon's voice assistant to guide you through the audiobook, allowing you to vocalize your choices – something that Chooseco has wanted to do with their books for years, but found too difficult in a standard audiobook format.
The recent surge of smart speakers and improved voice functionality in everyday devices opens up whole new possibilities for the way users interact with stories – while this specific skill only has two books so far, we could easily see this growing into something far larger.
The Choose Your Own Adventure skill is now available on all Alexa-supported devices.
Talk me through it
Given the wide reach of smart assistants in the world today, it's easy to forget how nascent the technology still is. Companies and users alike are still figuring out what voice-enabled gadgets are useful for, and what they're likely to be used for in the future.
It's not the first step Amazon has taken in the direction of interactive fiction: back in 2018 it even worked with Bethesda to release a tongue-in-cheek Elder Scrolls port – Skyrim: Very Special Edition – that you play entirely through your Amazon Echo.
With the rise of interactive movies like Netflix's Bandersnatch too, could this be the next big trend in storytelling?
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