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Whether this non-marquee placement was an attempt by the librarians to deemphasize the books in favor of ‘serious’ (children’s) literature or was simply my good luck I still haven’t worked out.
But it meant there was a place that I could retreat to and dive into unfamiliar worlds without distraction.
The second page is a ‘story’ page, meaning that it was either a text page that had a single forced choice (e.g., ‘To continue, turn to page 30’), or an illustration page outside of the stream of the story.
The brightly colored pages are endings of various degrees of direness.
But rather than being a definition retrieval system or associative datastore, their interactive function is to create a gameworld for the reader.
This is part of the wonder of these books – they took a pre-existing set of interface conventions designed for utilitarian search tasks and mapped a new activity onto it.
To visualize this, imagine color-coding every page in the book and then laying the pages out next to each other: In this example book, page one is a ‘branching’ decision, meaning there are at least two choices offered to the reader.Most pages tell a portion of the story, then finish by telling you to jump to another page.