It is widely believed that technology helps engage children – it’s an every day norm (and expectation) to them. There are concerns that all this technology can have a negative impact on key skills required – especially reading. E-books are part of the answer, but the interactivity and engagement within these can be limited, to say the very least. So creating an e-book that interacts and puts the reader in charge of the destination of the story is a sure fire winner.
As a non-fiction book reader, it was the adventure books from Ian Livingstone that got me into fiction reading as a boy, as I had choices to make. These had to be informed choices – informed choices with clues from the text I had just read. Reading was suddenly important. Reading suddenly became pleasurable.
We recently re-discovered Livingstone’s work as we reviewed Island of The Lizard King, which had been digitally reproduced by Tin Man Games for iPad and Android. One of their latest releases is a Starship Traveller Adventure Book, written by Steve Jackson, which follows the same format in the choices that need to be made by the reader. The blurb reads…
“Sucked through the appalling nightmare of the Seltsian Void, the starship Traveller emerges at the other side of the black hole into an unknown universe. YOU are the captain of the Traveller, and her fate lies in your hands. Will you be able to discover the way back to Earth from the alien peoples and planets you encounter, or will you and your crew be doomed to roam uncharted space forever?”
Again, this book has proved a hit, quickly engaging young readers into the plot and the choices they have to make. Battles are fought (via the rolling of dice); decisions need to be made; and careful reading is required. The extra dimensions of this book being on an app are the extra features they are able to offer:
- Fully customize your entire crew, from their names, their stats – and even rename your starship!
- Three styles of combat: melee, phaser and even starship battles!
- Switch around your crew before each battle round for added strategy during combat!
- Beam down to strange alien planets, selecting your finest crew for the job!
- Auto-mapping charts your travels through the cosmos! New planets and stars appear as you discover them!
- All-new full colour illustrations by Simon Lissaman, with a space-age cover by Dan Maxwell.
- Achievements to find throughout the gamebook.
We strongly advocate these books for helping to engage readers, and have been proven to occupy reluctant readers, who enjoy the decision-making, helping them mostly regulate the outcome of the characters within the story. Unlike the paper-based versions, once the decision or outcome is made, that’s it! Click here to explore the other GameBook Adventures, although not all books are suitable to younger children. The books we have reviewed are aimed at readers aged 9+, so suitable for older primary and/or secondary pupils.
Starship Traveller Adventure Book is available for Android and/or iPad, priced at £3.99*. Click on the links below to view in the relevant App Stores:
* Price correct at time of publication
Images via Tin Man Games