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Hero of Washington Square (1983)

Right, here’s where Endless Quest gets a bit more interesting. Not content to just put out children’s interactive fiction as a gateway drug to Dungeons & Dragons, Hero of Washington Square (1983) marks the series first foray into other TSR RPGs, in this case Top Secret. It is the seventh book in the series and the seventh book by Rose Estes, who, gods bless her, must have cranked these out with wild abandon because at this point the series was just 11 months old.

If this book is any indication, though, Rose needed a break. It is easily the worst of the line so far, which is saying something after Revolt of the Dwarves. First off, it is written in first person. This might sound like I’m picking nits, but holy crap, what a disorienting way to write a gamebook (they’re usually written in second person: you do this, you see that). Second, you basically spend most of the book being chased around Greenwich Village because you have the diamonds everyone wants. You’re the kid of a spy, by the way, and your best friends are Pigeon Mary and Bagel Ben, both of whom seem to reside full time in Washington Square Park. This is…an unusual take on New York City life, especially for 1983. Third, the diamonds are green, which would make me want to call them emeralds, except they are just irradiated. I’m gonna leave it at that. Whatever your brain is currently coming up with based on those plot points is better than the book, so why spoil it for you?

Jeff Easley on the cover again, delivering something that would have looked fine on the cover of any given Choose Your Own Adventure. Tim Truman handles the interiors. It is kind of amusing to flip through them and see him slowly realize what he’s working on and stop putting in the detail work.  

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