CYOA is an abbreviation of 'choose your own adventure.' When mentioned on 4chan, these are images that describe varied scenarios with a common theme, intended to spark discussion about the choices you would make as you describe why you feel one of the offered choices is better than the others.
It's like that question "would you rather fight a horse-sized duck, or a flock of duck-sized horses?" except you have a dozen choices and they're all awesome.
In The Beginning
|This article or section is about something oldschool - and awesome.|
Make sure your rose-tinted glasses are on nice and tight, and prepare for a lovely walk down nostalgia lane.
"Choose Your Own Adventure" originally referred to the branching-story books published in the 1980s. first imagined in the days of yore by Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson (and if those names sound familiar, that's normal, they're the guys who started Games Workshop.)
Those books were cut up into small numbered paragraphs, each of them describing something happening, at the end of which you had a either a choice to make or dice to roll to determine what happened. The story continues like that, the player jumping from paragraph to paragraph until their character is stopped by the story or killed in combat, or completes the quest. They were essentially single-player "RPG's" one could play when one had some time to waste.
Success was as immediate as it was unexpected. These books had a lot of success and popularity in the late eighties and nineties and the first book was followed by a whole series of them. Ian and Steve wrote multiple one themselves and they were joined by a bunch of other writers (amongst them Marc Gascoigne) who both expanded on the original idea and branched further off into science-fiction, superhero, horror,... settings.
The advent of computers and the internet eventually saw to the decline of CYOA books. Indeed, replayability of the books was rather low, whereas forums and MUD's offered a lot more interaction and options than the limited scope of a book. If you dig around a bit, you'll find that a bunch of those books have been adapted and expanded into vidja format. Still, the book format is not dead, the originals are still being re-printed and an occasional new one sees the light from time to time as they still have dedicated fans. Whether nostalgic oldfag or younger neckbeard; if you see one of those at a garage sale, grab it! They're good fun to play through on a slow day.
Some CYOAs tend to get talked about more than others. There's plenty of drama in the community, and there have been several splits from the general to produce CYOA-specific threads. Here are a few of the most (in)famous:
- Stardust - build your ship and assemble your crew, it's time for sci-fi adventures.
- Conduit - there's a little bit of everything in this CYOA, where the titular Conduits travel between themed worlds.
- Magical Realm - want your own domain to design to your wishes? This CYOA is pretty comprehensive.
- Towergirls- pick a waifu, any waifu. Has its own booru.
- Solar Inheritance - intrigue and conspiracy, in space...
See also: 150+ of them on the grognard booru