Ah, Choose Your Own Adventure books. Remember those pre-internet page-turners with names like Mystery of the Maya, Return to Atlantis, and Prisoner of the Ant People? If you were born any time between 1970 and 1990, give or take, you probably do — there were more than 250 million Choose Your Own Adventure books sold in the latter decades of the 20th century. As much fun as the books were for eager young readers, now that we’re in the 21st century, it’s time for you to find entertainment suited to our times.
Enter. No, not the celebrated table-top role playing game, the Amazon Alexa skill of the same name. Simply by saying “Alexa, play the Starfinder game,” you can be launched into the immersive science fiction world of a future where you and your companions battle everything from goblins to space bandits.
But what exactly is this thing? If you tossed a podcast, an audio book, a sci-fi movie, and a role-playing game into the blender together, Starfinder is what you’d get when you poured out your concoction. The audio adventure is genuinely interactive, with the program regularly pausing as you are asked to make choices that will directly change the story. These are questions such as whether to try diplomacy or just start shooting. You are also frequently asked to roll a 20-sided die and report your number to Alexa, with the success of the role impacting how well you and your team perform the next action. (Don’t worry, Alexa will generate a random number for you if you don’t have a D20 handy.)
The choices you make and the rolls of the dice will either elevate your character’s skills and power and lead the story toward a successful conclusion, or will see you end up dead. But you can always try again as you listen and lead your way through this nine-hour saga that features voice acting from such notables as Nathan Fillion (as Garvin) and Laura Bailey (as Clara-247).
The pilot episode is free, and in total three episodes have been released so far. Three more will be out later this fall, and each costs $1.99, or you can pay $9.99 for the whole Starfinder series.
This new type media makes perfect use of today’s technology and comes out at the perfect time as so many of us have more free time than ever these days. If you have a free half hour or so, wander over near your Echo smart speaker and blast off to Absalom Station by asking Alexa to play Starfinder today; it will be a welcome break from this world.