Before I start the posts comparing some Solo Gaming Experiences, I'd like to address the question: "why play solo anyway?"
Here are some possible reasons (not necessarily my own, but reasons why gamers in general may enjoy some solo adventuring):
I have no gaming group where I live.
I GM all the time, I'd like to have a chance to play and no one else wants to GM.
Sometimes I want to game when my group isn't available.
I want to game more then my gaming group wants to.
It's convenient and ready when I am.
It's fun (it better be, or why do it).
I'm sure there are dozens of reasons, but those are the basics as far as I am concerned.
I remember running solo / GM-less dungeon crawls using the random dungeon generator and the wandering monster tables from the back of the AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide simply because I wanted to play.
Games like Tunnels & Trolls address that desire to play a RPG when the individual player wants to by publishing solo adventures. Many of those early T&T solos weren't all that deep on story or plausibility, but they offered you an adventure that you could explore, face challenges, roll dice and if your were extremely lucky (or if you cheated) you didn't die. Solos tend to be fairly lethal, as you don't have a GM to soften the blow / make decisions on situations not covered by the rules / engage in role-play to avoid combat situations.
That all being said, if you survive the adventure, you can increase in ability and use that same character in the next adventure. Therein lies the secret to the success of a good series of solo adventures - continuity of the PC. You didn't get that in an endless quest book.
In my opinion, you need a simplified system to run solo adventures successfully. The more complicated the rules, the greater the need to have a GM arbitrate those rules. T&T works well as a solo system, as the rules can take a backseat to the character and story in a properly written solo. My instinct is that a system like 4e would only work as a solo if you greatly limited the options available to the player, and at that point i don't think you would be playing 4e anymore.
I've played T&T solos in the past, and will be running thru some more as part of this comparison of games that have solo adventures. It should be interesting to see if the complexity added to T&T core system by Mercenaries, Spies & Private Eyes enhances or detracts from the solo experience. As for LotFP Weird Fantasy, I almost ran my lady thru the tutorial instead of the T&T 7.5e Hot Pursuit solo... I'm glad I didn't, as I'd like to experience James' version of a solo - I expect it to be fairly lethal ;)
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