Vintage Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks Japanese Style
posted on by Andrew Osmond
While this isn't strictly news, it's likely that few British fans of the vintage Fighting Fantasy gamebooks of the 1980s and 1990s had any idea of their Japanese translations... until the venerated Ian Livingstone, co-founder of both Games Workshop and the Fighting Fantasy series, brought them up on his twitter feed. The picture on the right shows the Japanese cover of the sixth Fighting Fantasy book, Deathtrap Dungeon, which Livingstone wrote.
With its anime-style design and scantily-clad cute girl, it's rather a contrast to the original UK edition (left), published in 1984 with a cover painted by Ian McCraig. The monster is a Bloodbeast, one of the toughest adversaries in the book; if you lose to it, the Bloodbeast drags you into its pool of acid slime to be 'predigested,' before it eats you.
Livingstone commented, "Foreign publishers mostly used the original UK covers [of Fighting Fantasy books]... until the infamous Deathtrap Dungeon cover. Huh??"
The 'infamous' edition of Deathtrap Dungeon was published in Japan by Hobby Japan. (A previous Japanese edition was published in 1985 by Shakai Shisosha, using the original British art.) Livingstone also re-posted an image of other Japanese Fighting Fantasy covers, set against their British counterparts.
However, another poster to the twitter thread suggested that the Japanese cover was in line with the sexy promotion of the videogame version of Deathtrap Dungeon by Eidos.
The original Fighting Fantasy book series began in Britain with The Warlock of Firetop Mountain in 1982 and racked up nearly sixty titles by 1995, plus spinoffs and relaunches.
this article has been modified since it was originally posted; see change history