Como sabéis, la principal función de Dédalo es la potenciación y expansión de los librojuegos y de su sistema narrativo. En este orden, buscamos constantemente nuevos descubrimientos y líneas de evolución que nos permitan continuar sin estancarnos.
Uno de los diversos grupos de trabajo que Dédalo emplea para lograr el cometido de sus fines y objetivos ha empezado a buscar algún librojuego desconocido en español que fuese de notoria calidad. Lo ha encontrado: la obra se llama «Outsider!» y su autor es Gavin Mitchell.
Como ya hemos ido adelantando en los foros de los asociados, Dédalo ha creado un sello de calidad que concede a ciertas obras que cumplen determinados parámetros, y también corrige, traduce y sugiere cambios a aquellos autores que quieran contar con nuestra opinión y asesoramiento. Gavin nos ha pedido que no solo traduzcamos su obra sino que retoquemos su sistema de juego, que él ha basado en el modelo de Fighting Fantasy. Los encargados de esta misión han sido Fernando Lafuente y El Archimago y nos comunican que ya les queda poco tiempo para acabar de pulir todo.
A fin de iros adelantando un poco esta noticia, os reproducimos una entrevista que le hemos hecho a Gavin Mitchell para que podáis ir degustando su ibro. Dédalo pondrá el libro a la venta con descuento a sus asociados, como se os comunicará a su debido tiempo.
Os la traducimos del inglés (cortesía de El Archimago) y luego os ponemos la original (in english, below):
Muchos de los sistemas de juego quedaron vinculados a sus respectivas series
Un paladín o un personaje que se dedique a aniquilar hechiceros es más creíble que un espadachín errante e incompetente
Nice to meet you, Gavin. Most of the members of the spanish gamebook community maybe don’t know (yet) who you are. So, please, introduce yourself.
Hello, I live in the West Midlands of England and work in engineering. I also teach martial arts and tell stories as a performance art.
First of all, let’s talk a bit about gamebooks. How did you start in the world of interactive fiction? Why? When?
I imagine I would have been in the ideal target demographic for Fighting Fantasy books when they first came out (I was born in 1977) and was very into books and science fiction, so they were a logical purchase. I was soon taken with them and subsequently discovered Lone Wolf, Golden Dragon and the rest and don’t recall a time when I ever stopped reading them when I got chance. I greatly appreciated the challenge of finding the critical path using nothing more than memory (fortunately or unfortunately, being able to download the walkthroughs off the internet put an end to this). To this day I read new gamebooks whenever I get chance, read playthroughs and Let’s Plays of them online, and even have recurring dreams about finding long-lost gamebook series in bookshops.
Fighting Fantasy series was, and still is, very important for the fans. What does it offer that turns out to be so attractive? Why did other gamebooks have less success?
To start with I think there was a big advantage to them being the first of their type (apparently interactive fiction precedes them, but literary fiction would probably have appealed less to the target audience than fantasy combat) Subsequently the formula was very adaptable; a lot of other gamebook systems (Lone Wolf, Way of the Tiger, Falcon) were tied into those series and never used again, while the Fighting Fantasy system was very adaptable to magic, faith, honour, detective skills etc. There was also the fact that they weren’t tied into one story, character or setting like a lot of the other series — there were only so many things that could be done with Lone Wolf or Falcon, for instance. Finally I think they got the challenge level right — I don’t recall any of the others being particularly taxing to complete.
The Fighting Fantasy system was very adaptable
The main characteristic of a gamebook is that it mixes game and literature. In your opinion, what makes a gamebook interesting? Playability? A good writing? A story that makes you think? The opportunity to the reader to feel like a hero?
All of the above, though a lot of the appeal to me was going back through the book and trying to find the plot coupons which would enable victory. It was also important to have a well written adventure which wasn’t just saving a generic kingdom from a generic threat — a lot of bland adventures had a cranky good wizard helping a stereotypical human adventurer out on the start of a mission to take down an evil magician without much character or motivation. It also didn’t appeal to me when success hinged on finding various arbitrary items whose lack of possession would lead to instant failure often hundreds of pages down the line; or when the reward was just a jolly big pile of money and treasure, as one author put it non-ironically. Imaginary money in a book isn’t much of a reward, is it? I much preferred stories with engaging writing where an original, believable character with a realistic background (modern Let’s Plays make much of the fact that your standard adventurer frequently comes across as a serial killer with no ability to engage with others or interest in anything besides fighting) has genuine motivation for doing what they’re doing. Even a holy warrior or one pledged to defeat warlock-type enemies is more credible than a wandering, feckless swordsman who just arbitrarily decides to go on a quest for no very good reason; and many books went deeper still with family conflicts or dark events from the character’s past which had to be solved, giving far more satisfaction to the reader beyond merely solving the critical path puzzle.
Even a holy warrior or one pledged to defeat warlock-type enemies is more credible than a wandering, feckless swordsman
Unless something unpredictable gets is the way, your gamebook Outsider! is going to be translated into spanish and adapted to a slightly different system by Fernando Lafuente and J. P. Fernández del Río. Tell us something about this work of yours (without any spoilers, please): story, characters…
The lead character is Black Aria, one of the top assassins in the city of Altgarten, one of the most economically advanced in his world. Aria has been left nihilistic, misanthropic and mentally scarred by events in his childhood starting with the burning of his mother as a witch and continuing in brutal persecution and ostracism. Shortly before the start of the story he has been shown a new way of life and being in an intense love affair with another assassin, a Dark Elf called Eddora. However, she subsequently leaves without explanation suddenly and Aria (having had an awakening of motivation beyond his murderer’s existence) decides to set out to find his father who he never knew. However, this will take funds which he no longer has, and the story starts with him only having one choice of profession to fall back on…
Every author has influences. Which are yours? Tell us the title of a gamebook that it’s a winner for you.
A lot of Outsider was based on conscious decisions to avoid things I didn’t like in other gamebooks — though to go into too much detail would provide spoilers and possibly a clue to the critical path through the adventure; the comments a few paragraphs up probably make it clear what these are. There was also, for good or ill, an attempt to make a darker and more adult adventure than ever would have flown in the gamebook series that were aimed at children. Otherwise big influences on the story were pulp, classic, or campy science fiction like Lexx or Lensman, and heavy metal with its dark atmosphere and frequent recourse to fantasy-influenced themes and lyrics. These influences continue to this day, also including a devotion to comic books (I even ran a graphic novel reading group for a while) though (possibly surprisingly) I also consume classic literature such as Tolstoy and Mary Renault. And, I can’t leave this section without a shout out to Captain Alatriste :). While I like a lot of gamebooks and will read any I come across, ones that made a particular impression on me were the Cretan Chronicles, Trance (the last of the very obscure Starlight Adventures series) and quite a number of the Fighting Fantasy series — my comments above probably make it clear which ones 🙂
Let’s talk about now about your other works. You are a busy man: some stories for Starcraft, X-overs, Final Fantasy… Please, elaborate on this.
Starcraft Ulysses and FFVII Resurrection Dreams were stories I wrote either side of Outsider in the 1999-2002 period. In particular Ulysses, which I wrote beforehand, was the first thing I wrote which got a lot of positive attention outside of people I knew socially — this was a major boost and I don’t know if I would have been so confident in publicising Outsider without it (although I probably would).
What other books and projects have you been involved in?
More recently I have published Essays on Martial Arts and Meditation and Behind the Mask, both of which are available on Lulu.
And what about the present and the future? Anything interesting from you already in progress or coming soon?
Currently I’m hoping to collaborate with a comic book artist to produce Behind the Mask in this format as an ongoing series. So, if you’re reading this, have that skill set and are interested, please get in touch.
Anything else you’d like to say to our community? We already long for Outsider!
Thanks for welcoming me aboard, and hope you like the book 🙂