- "Reader beware, you choose the scare."
- ―The gamebook slogan
Give Yourself Goosebumps is a horror fiction gamebook series written by R.L. Stine, in which you choose the story. They were written from 1995 to 2000. There are fifty books in the series, including special editions, and all of them are currently out of print, except for Please Don't Feed the Vampire!, which was made into a Classic Goosebumps book as a tie-in to the Goosebumps Movie.
After the success of the original series, Scholastic used R.L. Stine's experience in writing gamebooks to make a spin off series where there is more than one ending, and the reader can be scared more times than they would be in a regular book. The books are very similar to the Choose Your Own Adventure books. On the bottom of the page, there is a choice on what page to go to. They are not meant to be read in numerical order or else it will not make sense.
There are over twenty endings per book, and the reader often makes choices by flipping a coin, rolling a dice, or other means. If the reader makes the obviously wrong choice, they may be told to go back and pick another option, or they may "die" right there on the spot.
Deaths and Endings
Deaths are common and there are usually only a few happy endings per book. Every book has at least ONE positive ending. It is not told directly how you die, but it is implied, and it often ends with the words THE END. Sometimes, it is incorporated into a sentence. Other times, it says simply "END" or has a different phrase all together that makes sense within the ending (like saying "GAME OVER", if the ending involved virtual reality).
There is often an ending which is basically where the reader misses out on his/her adventure, and as such the book will be somewhat insulting to the reader and point out that they have chosen a "boring" ending. The reader will also be ridiculed if they choose an obviously bad choice, and then either demand that the reader turns to the "correct" page, or will end the story there and then.
In some of the books, there is at least one bad ending, which is hinted at throughout, and therefore expected by the reader. This is usually because it is the villain's main intention, but sometimes there will be another reason. Examples include: becoming a monster in Trapped in Bat Wing Hall, shrinking to nothing in Beware of the Purple Peanut Butter, Joanie disappearing in Under the Magician's Spell, the graveyard message being completed in The Curse of the Creeping Coffin, becoming a wax figure, or having your face ripped off in Welcome to the Wicked Wax Museum, using "Guest Shot" too many times, and melting in Little Comic Shop of Horrors (although in the one ending that this kills you in, it isn't actually your fault), being frozen by the Annihilator 3000 in Toy Terror: Batteries Included, getting eaten by Ed the ghoul in Lost in Stinkeye Swamp, captured or eaten by plants in You're Plant Food!, becoming a clown in Trapped in the Circus of Fear, or becoming a picture in The Curse of the Cave Creatures.
Despite this, there are a number of other bad endings that the reader can suffer from while reading these books.
For a more detailed list of possible outcomes, please view below.
The majority of books in the series have two separate stories, based around the same plot line that The Reader can take part in; examples include Little Comic Shop of Horrors which will either be about trying to escape from a comic book, or a basement underneath the shop and both Carnival books, which focus on either rides, or sideshow attractions.
In some books, the continuity between scenarios is fairly good, but sometimes it is ignored (Lost in Stinkeye Swamp uses the same plot twist in both main scenarios, but with different origins.) Some of the books, also have a third storyline, generally called a "side story", which only consists of a few endings, and is over and done with after not much time. Some of the side stories, actually have no good ending, and must be avoided - the earliest example of this was Trapped in Bat Wing Hall. In some books, the choice leading to the side story actually appears before the "branch" between the two main stories does.
Checkout Time at the Dead-End Hotel and It Came from the Internet! in the main series, and most of the Special Edition books only had one storyline for The Reader. The final book in the series, Weekend at Poison Lake, has four full storylines and the reader is a completely different character in each one.
Tim Jacobus, the illustrator for the original series and Goosebumps Series 2000, illustrated Escape from the Carnival of Horrors; his signature is covered up on the front by Choose from Over 20 Different Scary Endings!, but it is visible on the back. Mark Nagata took over from book two, Tick Tock, You're Dead!, to 24, Lost in Stinkeye Swamp. Craig White illustrated the rest, using computer animation software, from 25, Shop Till You Drop...Dead! to 42, All Day Nightmare and all eight special editions.
In the UK books until fifteen, Please Don't Feed the Vampire! had covers that had the majority of their artwork obscured by a slime-like substance, making them inferior to the US version, which boasted a metallic-holographic prism effect involving a single abstract design repeated on the cover that would change shape or form when it was exposed to different areas of light.
All US versions had a single tagline on the back of the book.
Types of Endings
Although the endings differed depending on the book itself, the types of endings you can have for each book are of the same environment, although not all books use each type of ending. The types of endings are as follows:
- Permanent transformation
- Slavery, or loss of control
- Frozen or transforming into a stationary object (sometimes still aware of surroundings)
- Suffering a fate worse than death
- Living Dead, in some way or another
- Achieving the hinted bad ending
- Missing out on the adventure
- Being trapped
- Winding up in the wrong time and/or place
- Surviving the adventure, but with something wrong (like you've been transformed, for example)
- Surviving the adventure, but not really doing that much
- Surviving the adventure and achieving your goal
- Escape from the Carnival of Horrors
- Tick Tock, You're Dead!
- Trapped in Bat Wing Hall
- The Deadly Experiments of Dr. Eeek
- Night in Werewolf Woods
- Beware of the Purple Peanut Butter
- Under the Magician's Spell
- The Curse of the Creeping Coffin
- The Knight in Screaming Armor
- Diary of a Mad Mummy
- Deep in the Jungle of Doom
- Welcome to the Wicked Wax Museum
- Scream of the Evil Genie
- The Creepy Creations of Professor Shock
- Please Don't Feed the Vampire!
- Secret Agent Grandma
- Little Comic Shop of Horrors
- Attack of the Beastly Babysitter
- Escape from Camp Run-For-Your-Life
- Toy Terror: Batteries Included
- The Twisted Tale of Tiki Island
- Return to the Carnival of Horrors
- Zapped in Space
- Lost in Stinkeye Swamp
- Shop Till You Drop...Dead!
- Alone in Snakebite Canyon
- Checkout Time at the Dead-End Hotel
- Night of a Thousand Claws
- Invaders from the Big Screen
- You're Plant Food!
- The Werewolf of Twisted Tree Lodge
- It's Only a Nightmare!
- It Came from the Internet
- Elevator to Nowhere
- Hocus-Pocus Horror
- Ship of Ghouls
- Escape from Horror House
- Into the Twister of Terror
- Scary Birthday to You!
- Zombie School
- Danger Time
- All Day Nightmare
- Into the Jaws of Doom
- Return to Terror Tower
- Trapped in the Circus of Fear
- One Night in Payne House
- The Curse of the Cave Creatures
- Revenge of the Body Squeezers
- Trick or...Trapped!
- Weekend at Poison Lake
- There were two books in this series that continued other Goosebumps books. These include Return to Terror Tower, which is a sequel to A Night in Terror Tower, and Revenge of the Body Squeezers, which is a sequel to Invasion of the Body Squeezers, Part 1 and 2.
- Sometimes characters from other Goosebumps books are mentioned, and some actually appear, like Slappy's quick appearance in Escape from the Carnival of Horrors.
- The Snake Lady, Muglani, Cronby the Troll, Professor Shock, Fifi the Vampire Poodle, Countess Yvonne, The Annihilator 3000 and the E. Ville Creeper Plants appeared in the Goosebumps (2015 film).