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Nightmare Fuel / Gamebooks
aka: Nintendo Adventure Books

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Sleep tight!

The entire gamebook genre is so well known for Nightmare Fuel that entire series such as Give Yourself Goosebumps and Choose Your Own Nightmare were created to capitalize on it. Most of the time, the nightmare fuel comes from the endings where your character dies or meets a Fate Worse than Death. Entire blogs and websites, such as You Chose Wrong and Lose Your Own Adventure have been created to showcase some of the worst endings across the genre. This blog features a healthy dose of nightmarish illustrations from the Choose Your Own Adventure series.




  • Choose Your Own Adventure:
    • The scariest illustrations tend to fall under several categories:
      • Your character giving an Oh, Crap! look as you are seconds away from being killed. Anything illustrated by Judith Mitchell will invoke this multiple times, even on some of the pages that don't have bad endings.
      • Your character is eaten alive. If the book is illustrated by Paul Granger, the illustration will feature a hideously large, detailed, close-up illustration of the animal about to eat you (a tiger in The Cave of Time, the cat after you are shrunken in The Mystery of Chimney Rock, or a giant rat beast in The Third Planet from Altair).
      • Giant full- or even two-page illustrations (such as the one on this page) with one line of text.
    • The textual examples:
      • Cruel Twist Endings.
      • The last sentence having you face-to-face with someone or something about to kill you (generally illustrated as described above).
      • And I Must Scream, where you are transformed into something else, fully conscious, yet cannot do anything about it or cry for helpnote .
      • "You are never heard from again" or "Those are the last words you ever say."
      • The Nonstandard Game Overs, especially those in The Mystery of Chimney Rock as described on the main page and multiple other places on this wiki.
  • Nintendo Adventure Books:
    • The Crystal Trap is loaded with endings in which Zelda (the protagonist this go-around) gives an Oh, Crap! as she awaits a terrible fate (sinking in quicksand or becoming a sitting duck for enemies) for failure to have the correct item. The whole book is one big And I Must Scream moment for Link, who is frozen immobile in a block of crystal at the beginning of the book and will be that way irretrievably if Zelda can't find the Plot Coupons to free him within 24 hours.
    • The Non Standard Game Over from Pipe Down! if the Mario Bros. don't have enough coins to give to a Clawgrip. The result has the word PINCH! in a gigantic explosion graphic that takes up the entire page.
    • The final choice of Dinosaur Dilemma involves Mario deciding whether he should break open an egg or leave it alone (note that Mario has seen trapped dinosaurs in other eggs previously). If Mario smashes it, he breaks it open in a gooey mess, only to find the dead body of Luigi (while not stated, it's heavily implied, especially with the immediate Game Over).
  • Star Challenge, including illustrations (but just of one page at best) in the same way too as in Choose Your Own Adventure.
    • Pretty much those of above, including but not limited to:
      • Sent to the (up to very, in cosmological terms) distant past or future.
      • Telefragged in one form or in other.
      • Ending in another dimension, usually followed by something beyond simple death.
      • Thrown Out the Airlock.
      • Not dying, nor And I Must Scream, but instead spending your (often short) remaining life imprisoned in one way or other.
      • Probably the nastiest one, in Dimension of Doom, is basically to suffer a Grand Theft Me with the only lifeform in an alternate dimension you're exploring and being condemned to stay there forever.

Alternative Title(s): Nintendo Adventure Books, Star Challenge, Choose Your Own Adventure