Sunday, March 6, 2011

Thrift Shop Find: Car Wars Gamebook

You must drive Orson Whitney, a controversial Church Elder, to San Francisco without letting him get killed in the process.

Welcome to the exciting world of Car Wars Adventure Gamebooks! I have been a gamebook geek since way back in early 1981 when I read my first. I don't remember what it was, but I was hooked. They were a nice change of pace from playing Zork on my Apple. Plus cheating was a bit easier with a gamebook--just a quick peek at Page 46 to see what happens when I open that door and then a quick peek at Page 87 to see what happens if I check the door for traps.... Oh, come on! What gamebook reader (player?) hasn't peeked ahead  just once!

This weekend at the local library used bookstore, I picked up a Very Fine copy of the Car Wars Adventure Gamebook: Badlands Run from 1987, paying a whopping 50 cents. The cover is still stiff and looks like no one ever opened it up to read. And get this. They had four more copies! Unfortunately, the other four were all badly damaged. Oh well. This book goes for $15 to $30 on the collector market. (Note, the photo above is not of my actual book. Just a photo I found online.) The cover just screams Car Wars and Mad Max. Back in the day, I was a big Car Wars player. This is the only CW book I've ever found. I also picked up a VF condition AD&D adventure gamebook #18 from 1988, but those are more common.

If you'd like more info on this book or adventure gamebooks in general, check out Demian's Gamebook Web Page.The link will take you to the Badlands Run page. Check those thrift shops for gamebooks. For us old guys, they can bring back some fond memories of misspent youth!


  1. I played a lot of gamebooks myself, way way back in my murky past. I'm pretty sure I played at least one Car Wars style book but I can't remember which one now. These books seem to be making a bit of a comeback with new reprints of some old titles in the shops again. IN fact I picked up a load of old Fighting Fantasy books recently for a few pounds.

  2. Oh yes, I remember that little treasure!

  3. You know, I need to go buy one of the busted up copies so I can actually read the book. Why didn't I think of that earlier?!?