BOOK REVIEW: YOU ARE THE HERO / AUTHOR: JONATHAN GREEN / PUBLISHER: SNOWBOOKS LTD / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks have been experiencing a renaissance recently. Partially, this is due to nostalgia; Warlock on Firetop Mountain came out 32 years ago after all. Mostly, however, it’s because the games themselves are still relevant to modern games design and gaming trends, and also due to a massive surge in interest in fantasy gaming. Fighting Fantasy is just as good as it ever was, but for many of us it has been a very long time since we visited the world of Titan, and a guide book is just what we need.
A solid reference work on Fighting Fantasy has been needed for quite some time, and who other than Fighting Fantasy author and living word cannon Jonathan Green to hunt down all the fine details of this world. You Are The Hero is a lovingly assembled and highly detailed labour of love. Green has produced a great many adventure game books himself and knows the industry inside and out; this makes him the ideal person to track down the big names in the genre, such as Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone. He has also filled the book with the iconic art that delighted the young and terrified the unimaginative back in the eighties. The artists are especially well treated here and there are some rare (and previously unseen) treasures in this book.
Each adventure gets a chance to shine and every aspect of this huge and popular series is discussed and investigated. You Are The Hero is filled with many tiny stories about inspiration and production. The books aren’t so much reviewed as examined; Green’s tone is one of reverence and respect, though from a perspective of thorough research. Not a single stone is left unturned; we get the story behind the telephone based game F.I.S.T., the story behind the weird plastic models that tied into Fighting Fantasy, a look into the Goldhawk series (aimed at younger readers), Battlecards, the Zagor books, Warlock magazine, everything. The whole Fighting Fantasy franchise is examined and put into context.
Green has produced a beautifully edited and firmly present account of a phenomenon that for some is as important as Transformers or Star Wars and yet has been pretty much overlooked by the mainstream. If you’ve recently become reacquainted with the idea of turning to page 400 and want to know more about this strangely British fandom, then this is the best place to start.