The thrill of reading Choose Your Own Adventure gamebooks as a kid was in the dying. Sure, you could play to win, but it always seemed like the authors had more fun and put more creativity into the many scenarios of horrible death that followed the selection of a wrong choice than the relatively pedestrian scenarios of success. Plus, there was the immersion factor. Choose Your Own Adventure books may not have been great art, but because the choices you made (and their consequences) relied on reading and imagination, they pulled you in on a visceral level–even if your demise was leavened with the humor of an over-the-top disemboweling or being turned into human meat. There’s a potent, if brief, moment of self-identification in these deaths, when the reader realizes, “Hey, I just died there” that’s different from more mediated deaths in, say, your average video game.

While Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books declined in popularity in the 1990s, Internet consultant Terence Eden just set the template for the genre in the social media era, creating 23 separate Twitter accounts for each narrative choice. Eden is not the first to attempt an ersatz Choose Your Own Adventure on Twitter, as he notes on his blog, but his method is more streamlined and accessible since it stays entirely on the Twitter platform, and using Twitter handles instead of links gives him more characters to work with. Opening multiple browser tabs to follow branching story trees might not have the same charm as sticking all your fingers into a paperback to mark your bad decisions, but it’s fun all the same.

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[via Laughing Squid]