Itch.io founder, Leaf Corcoran, warned developers about page takedowns of indie games featuring the phrase “Choose Your Own Adventure” yesterday. “Warning to any devs using the phrase ‘choose your own adventure’ to describe their games, Chooseco is issuing takedown notices,” he wrote on Twitter.
So, what’s going on here?
Chooseco LLC, the publisher of the famous “Choose Your Own Adventure” series of books, has been on the warpath over the last couple of years, taking legal action against anyone dabbling in branching narratives that get successful enough to be noticed.
They sued Netflix following the release of Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, and now they are trying to stop indie game developers from using the phrase “choose your own adventure” to promote their games. The company is sending trademark infringement notices to the Itch.io gaming storefront, and so far, they’ve resulted in four game pages being suspended.
The game pages that have been taken down so far include Purrfect Apawcalypse, an “apocalyptic dog dating choose your own adventure game”; a “choose your own dating sim text adventure” game called It’s a Date; an unofficial GameBoy game called Choose Your Own Adventure GB; and New Yorker writer Luke Burns’ A Series of Choose Your Own Adventure Stories Where No Matter What You Choose You Are Immediately Killed by a Werewolf.
Speaking with The Verge, Corcoran said, “We are in no way trying to negatively represent the actions of Chooseco. We understand that they need to protect their brand and are happy to work with them to ensure that their trademark is not violated.”
Apparently, using CYOA has not triggered any notices from Chooseco, but take note developers and narrative designers.
THE PULSE is out now on Google Play