Several indie game developers on the website itch.io have used the phrase “choose your own adventure” to describe their games in which player choice controlled the narrative. Chooseco, the publishing company behind the Choose Your Own Adventure books that made the phrase famous, has started sending trademark infringement notices to itch.io and these developers to stop them from using the phrase for their own products. Because of this, four game pages have already been suspended, according to The Verge. Leaf Corcoran, founder of itch.io, took to Twitter to caution other developers against using the phrase for their games.
warning to any devs using the phrase “choose your own adventure” to describe their games, Chooseco is issuing takedown notices to @itchio for trademark infringement. Example game page they went after: pic.twitter.com/YG0JGUoHAA
— leaf @ itch.io 🙌 (@moonscript) December 9, 2019
The example he included, Purrfect Apawcalypse, was initially described as an “apocalyptic dog dating choose your own adventure game” before its suspension due to Chooseco’s takedown notices. Corcoran told The Verge other affected games include It’s a Date, Choose Your Own Adventure GB, and A Series of Choose Your Own Adventure Stories Where No Matter What You Choose You Are Immediately Killed by a Werewolf, created by New Yorker writer Luke Burns.
Corcoran plans to work with Chooseco on the issue, as he 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.”
Chooseco had previously contacted itch.io four months ago about the issue, according to The Verge, which led to one game being suspended. Corcoran said he tries to work with developers to remove the content from their games that lead to copyright infringement notices. To prevent any problems arising with itch.io’s web host, the games that received takedown notices have been suspended for now.