February 6, 2019
Amazon’s Audible and Chooseco have collaborated on two new “choose your own adventure” children’s audiobooks. Available on Amazon Alexa-enabled devices via Chooseco’s Choose skill, “The Abominable Snowman” and “Journey Under the Sea,” designed by the two teams, feature professional voice actors and can be navigated by voice commands. The two stories together offer 65 different endings and, on Alexa devices with screens, show illustrations for story beats. Decision-making points in the story are signaled by a sound.
VentureBeat reports that the stories are available with the command, “Alexa, open Choose Your Own Adventure from Audible.” The user is able to have the choice of undoing his or her decision or “exploring how things might have unfolded differently” if he/she selected another path. The skill also “keeps a running tally of endings you’ve discovered.”
Storyflow is another interactive storytelling platform with “custom content … voice actors and sound effects,” and “other such experiments to date include Westworld: The Maze, Earplay, 20th Century Fox’s Offworld Colony Simulator, and the New York Times’ Choose-Your-Own-News Adventure.” Google Home also launched the Wiggles app, “which lets kids kick off games, sing along to songs, and practice core skills with their quixotic Australian pals.”
The Verge reports that, “Chooseco has also been hard at work trying to leverage its particular brand of storytelling beyond the iconic white-and-red books for young readers,” first by releasing interactive DVDs over ten years ago. In 2013, it “attempted a Kickstarter to fund an interactive iPad app … and, as of last year, it was working with 20th Century Fox to produce an interactive movie for moviegoers.”
The Audible and Chooseco partnership isn’t a regular Alexa skill but rather a “full-fledged Choose Your One Adventure audiobook, with a proper narrator,” who can bring “additional depth and emotion to the text that enhances the story for listeners.” “That level of interaction goes beyond a mere skill,” it concludes.