The Choosatron is a sort of adventure engine. You can create or download stories with branching paths and use the hardware's built-in buttons and thermal printer to "play" the story.
You read a bit, come to a decision point, make a choice, and then read the consequences. When you reach the end of the story you can keep the paper as a sort of memento of your choices and then play again.
"It all still distills down to the same choice-based gameplay," creator Jerry Belich explained. "It's always easy to play, but people can get as intricate and crazy with the design of their stories as they want. They can share them online and play them with other people online." You can even code very basic images to be included in your story.
It's a sort of end-to-end imagination tool for adults, or children. The fact you can build your own tool for creating stories, and then write your own choices and watch your friends or family play your story or game is empowering.
"They get to put the kit together, they get to read stories, play stories, learn about the structure, and they finally get to write stories and share them with each other," Belich told Polygon. "Getting to see their own words in print, and seeing their name at the end is very exciting for them."
The hardware is now available for pre-order at a lower, $150 price until October 20, when the price goes back up to $180. After the units are created and shipped out, that's it. Belich has no plans in place for any more manufacturing.
I was able to play with one of the boxes during the Game Developers Conference, and being able to hold a story, or an infinite number of stories, in your hand is magical. The fact it prints out a physical record of each attempt to get to the "good" ending of the story is icing on the cake.