Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Your Adventure Ends Here

I'm not quite sure where I picked up my first Fighting Fantasy book. Possibly my older brother had some. My school library definitely had some, but I think I found those once I was already fully hooked. Second-hand bookshops around Cambridge often had them too, but again, I hunted those down after becoming addicted. Either way, all I know is that some time in my early teens, I discovered Fighting Fantasy game books and my life was changed forever.

At the time I was pretty much exclusively reading all the high fantasy I could get my hands on, so the idea of a book full of fantasy elements (dungeons! Warlocks! Dragons!) wherein I could be the star was just a magical thing. I didn't know anything about role playing and I definitely didn't bother with the whole "roll the dice and track your stats" elements of the books, but I played wholeheartedly nonetheless. I fought ice witches and warlocks on Firetop Mountain. I battled the armies of the undead. I explored the island of the lizard king. I died many times.

Many, many times. But always I found victory eventually. Whether it was by having the right magical dagger or knowing the answer to the gryphon's riddle, whether it was facing down giant scorpions or Satanic priests, I always triumphed in the end.

Well, almost always. One book defeated me. I played it solo, I played it with a friend, I played it as a teen and in my twenties, I went through two copies, and I still never conquered...

The Creature of Havoc.

This book is hard, you guys. You play said creature, working to find out why you became a creature and avenge yourself, or transform yourself back maybe. I don't remember. Maybe both. I don't know because I never fucking completed it because it's super fucking hard and I died all the fucking time. I died in a furnace. I died of poison. I died of being cut open by a witch. I ate my best friend and then wandered back into the furnace and died again. I died everywhere, in every way possible, and no matter how often I replayed and (yes) cheated, I never beat the book.

I feel like this is something I should be over at age 33, but I'm not. I hadn't thought about this book in years until Amazon recommended me a Fighting Fantasy adult colouring book (which I am absolutely buying, thanks Amazon), and then all the old bitterness and trauma came flooding back. And it turns out second-hand copies of Creature of Havoc are really cheap, so I determined to conquer the unconquerable.

After all, it's been a good eight or so years since my last attempt. I've grown as a person. I've played DnD. I'm no longer liable to throw the book across the room in a screaming fit if I get stuck in the furnace again. I can do this. I owe it to myself, and my beloved adventuring companion, Skelly* to do this.

I will do this. I will defeat the Creature of Havoc.

Or...not, because I will be the creature. Anyway. It's definitely going to happen this time. I've got a good feeling about it.

*I didn't kill Skelly. She's not the best friend referred to above. She's fine, okay? She's fine.


  1. I love that you had to add that you didn't kill me hahaha!

  2. Wishing you all the best on your quest to defeat the Creature of Havoc :-)