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Honor Joe Dever’s Legacy By Playing Lone Wolf Today

Honor Joe Dever’s Legacy By Playing Lone Wolf Today

On November 30th, the family of author and game designer Joe Dever announced that he passed away at the age of 60 on his Facebook page. Dever is most famous for being the creator of the Lone Wolf series of gamebooks that started in 1984 with the publication of Flight From The Dark.

These books took their lead from the popular Choose Your Own Adventure series of books and added some Dungeons & Dragons into the mix in both the fantasy world of Magnamund and a layer of tabletop RPGs. Combats were determined through a combination of luck and skill, character traits influenced the narrative and the choices a player could make in the story, and players unlocked more abilities and story elements as they read each successive book.

Many kids got their first taste of role-playing through these books. They influenced hundreds of young game designers in the 1980s who expressed their sadness at Dever’s passing upon hearing news of his death. This was their first experience for many kids with leveling up, branching storylines and being in control of a narrative while also enjoying a story being told. For those fans feeling nostalgic, those fans looking to introduce their kids to a childhood experience or new fans curious to explore the world, we’ve found a few ways to enjoy Magnamund in the modern age.

Project AON

Dever authorized Project AON and allowed fans to post electronic versions of many of the game books to their website free of charge. Dever also convinced many of the original artists to let their art be reused to help the world keep its visual charm. Not only do browse playable editions exist here, but fans coded them into e-reader formats for Kindles and tablets. There are strategy discussions, flowchart maps that spoil the story for fans who might wonder if the other path would have been better and even some of the spin-off books and Dever’s other game books like the post-apocalyptic Freeway Warrior. The only thing that’s missing are extra fingers to jam into the book as primitive save point

Joe Dever’s Lone Wolf Apps

One of the joys of the Lone Wolf books were their portability. Players just needed the book and a pencil for notes and they could play wherever they could find a spare minute or two to read some sections. Mobile gamers have two ways to experience Lone Wolf. Joe Dever’s Lone Wolf is a mobile game that offers a stand-alone story with graphics and a few modern elements. The Lone Wolf Saga has the text from many of the original books ready play along with a character tracker that keeps tabs on character stats and runs combats for the player.

Lone Wolf Adventure Game

There have been a few attempts to adapt Magnamund into a tabletop RPG setting. Cubicle 7’s Lone Wolf Adventure Game was released as a boxed set two years ago. The game works as an excellent introduction to RPGs, much like the original game books, but it also offers depth to veteran gamers that might want to create their own characters and fight for Sommerlund and the Kai. It even offers a great nod to the original books — players can flip tokens onto a random numbers chart in the box lid, just like the blind pencil drops in the back of Mom’s Buick 30 years ago.

What’s your favorite Lone Wolf adventure? Let us know in the credits!

Image credit Amazon.com

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