Like many people of a certain age, I have a huge soft spot for Choose Your Own Adventure stories — so it’s only natural that I’d be taken in hook, line, and sinker by the Twitter account @wnd_go, which serves as the starting point for a Twitter-based Choose Your Own Adventure tale currently taking the social media world on by storm. First off, it’s one of the most creative uses of Twitter I’ve ever seen; add to that the fact that the story it puts you at the center of is spectacularly creep-tastic, and, well… let’s just say that it’s totally my jam.
As it turns out, the unnamed story is sort of a marketing gimmick, according to Vice's Motherboard. Normally discovering something like that would dampen my enthusiasm somewhat; in this case, though, I’m willing to give it a bit of a by. You see, rather than being a carefully calculated move by a gigantic and faceless company, the story begun by @wnd_go is more of a homegrown, grassroots kind of thing: Terence Eden, a mobile developer who works for The Lab UK by day, had been tossing around the idea of doing a CYOA story on Twitter for a while; however, when he finished reading a horror novel published in 2014 called The Wanderer, by Timothy J. Jarvis, all the pieces fell into place for him. “[The Wanderer’s] creepy tones inspired me to see if I could write that well (spoiler alert — not really!),” Eden wrote on his blog. “I thought I’d try my hand at creating a viral ‘teaser trailer’ for Timothy’s book. With his blessing, I got cracking.”
Interactive fiction and technology have flirted with each other for ages (hi there, Zork!), but in recent years, the two have seemingly buckled down and finally shacked up with each other. Eden used Inklewriter to write and keep track of his story, but there are myriad other tools out there geared towards facilitating interactive fiction (the New York Times, for example, featured Twine over the summer). Eden goes into depth on his blog about how he put the whole thing together, so head on over there for the nitty-gritty; the result is a fun and spooky little diversion that takes you through a maze of Twitter accounts as you try to make your way out of the story alive.
Not that being “alive” at the end of it is necessarily a good thing, but, well… maybe you’ll just have to find out why on your own.
Just for kicks, here’s how my own story went; head on over to @wnd_go to begin your own. Choose wisely, or suffer the consequences.
Who? What? Where? What’s going on?! I guess we’re beginning in medias res. I’m not convinced I have the athletic abilities to outrun them — whoever “they” are — so I’m going to opt for hiding.
A metal object? How fascinating. I never could resist shiny things, so let’s take a closer look, shall we?
That was a poor decision. Try again. Leave it alone.
Even though the Twitter handle is telling me “no,” I’m going to chance a peek.
I’m not sure how I feel about either of these options; I’m not really a crier, but I don’t particularly like the idea of surrendering, either. Then again, sometimes you’ve just got to let go, right? Perhaps I’ll try surrendering:
And running. Maybe I would have been better off running from the start — they’re insatiable, aren’t they? Whoever "they" are…
Well, that’s a no-brainer. I’ll be damned if I’m going to let them catch me after all this. I lurch to my feet and…
I’m a big believer in asking questions before throwing punches. I’ll try reason.
Goodness. What on earth did I do? Am I the real monster here?
Yes. Yes, I am. Here's where we end up after the story draws to a close:
Find out more about The Wanderer by Timothy J. Jarvis at its Amazon page.