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Down and Nerdy: Choose Your Own Adventure books and DeathSpank

IN WHICH heroic actions are undertaken, both on the printed page and on the electronic video screen.

Briana's pick: Choose Your Own Adventure books

Some people believe that we have too many choices in life. I mean, have you seen the cereal aisle lately? IT’S OUT OF CONTROL! Every move I make requires a choice of some kind. It took me 10 minutes to decide which pair of sunglasses to wear today. Another 4 minutes to decide if my sunglasses looked better with my hair up or down. When faced with life’s tough decisions, I take a deep breath, consider the past, weigh my options…then opt for the dark tunnel leading to the lair of the Lizard People and turn to page 64.

If you were a child in the 80’s then I can almost guarantee you read a Choose Your Own Adventure book at some point. If not then here’s how it works: The book starts like any other, but at some point you are asked to decide the main character’s next move. For example, you (as the main character) emerge from a dark forest. Do you turn left and head toward the small dark village to your left or stop and camp for the night? If you choose to go left, turn to page 6. If you choose to camp, turn to page 48. Each choice brings a different outcome. Some choices lead back to where you started and others end the adventure completely (not always to your satisfaction, I might add. The series was published from 1979-1998, which is quite a good run considering the competition from video games. They are simple fun and don’t require batteries. Plus you can always cheat and decide to turn left toward the small village. Don’t worry. No one will ever know.

James' pick: DeathSpank

I'm having a total ball lately with a recently released downloadable game (for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360) called DeathSpank. It's visual style reminds me a little of "Samurai Jack," the gameplay is straight-up lose-track-of-time fun, and the sense of humor is reminiscent of Douglas Adams. Too much fun; here's the trailer: