Amazon's Alexa just got a major upgrade that Millennial and Gen-X readers are going to love. You can now "read" Choose Your Own Adventure books from Audible on Alexa, which means you can bring that good old nostalgia directly to your living room. Two classic titles, The Abominable Snowman and Journey Under the Sea, are now available through Alexa's new Choose Your Own Adventure skill, which is available for free today on Echo and Amazon Alexa-enabled devices.
The Choose Your Own Adventure (CYOA) books were staples of every young reader's library in the 1980s and '90s. Each book put readers in the second-person driver's seat, making them flip back and forth through the branching paths of the story, until they arrived at one of its dozens of endings. The stories ranged in genre, from contemporary sports tales, to sci-fi and fantasy adventures, and even to murder mysteries and spy thrillers.
Enabling Alexa's new Choose Your Own Adventure skill lets users revisit the first two CYOA books, enhanced by professional voice-acting through Audible. The Abominable Snowman and Journey Under the Sea are available as part of a partnership — 12 years in the making! — between Audible, Amazon Alexa, and publisher Chooseco LLC. Together, the books sport 65 total endings for users to explore, and CYOA readers will be happy to know that Alexa's Choose Your Own Adventure skill allows "readers" to undo unfortunate decisions, if they desire.
If you've been following the media buzz surrounding Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, you might recognize Chooseco's name. The Choose Your Own Adventure publisher sued Netflix in January, alleging that the online streaming network "deliberately exploited the brand awareness" of CYOA books in order to promote Bandersnatch. The Black Mirror special, which adheres to a branching-path format similar to a CYOA book, follows lead character Stefan as he attempts to convert the titular novel — a work of meta-fiction that Stefan refers to as a "Choose Your Own Adventure book" — into a hit video game. Chooseco's lawsuit also claims that Netflix had attempted to license the CYOA brand in the past, but that no deal was ever struck.
Regardless of how Chooseco v. Netflix turns out, Choose Your Own Adventure fans can indulge in some much-needed nostalgia with Alexa's new skill. To enable it, just tell your Echo or Amazon Alexa-enabled device, "Alexa, open Choose Your Own Adventure from Audible," and lose yourself in a classic children's book.