There’s a lot of advice out there saying not to use second person, ever. Like any absolute rule, it’s wrong.
Decades after reading it, I still remember the chapter about arrest and detention in the first volume of Solzhenitsyn’s GuLAG Archipelago. It’s written in second person, and the effect is to plunge you into a brutal and inescapable situation.
I notice that I switch into second person for scenes of extreme stress and dissociation. No, this is not happening to ‘me’ or ‘him’ or ‘her’ or ‘they’; it’s happening to some unspecified ‘you.’
Interactive fiction uses ‘you’ for the same reason that Solzhenitsyn chose it in his nonfiction narrative; it’s ‘you, yes, you’ who’s in the story.
Does it work? It all depends on the writer’s skill. Just because it’s been done poorly (cheesy ‘choose your adventure’ books or bad role-playing games) doesn’t mean that you should avoid it. For that matter, ‘choose your adventure’ and role-playing games, like any literary form, can be cheesy or transcendent. Dismissing an entire form as crap is as lazy-minded now as it was for eighteenth- and nineteenth-century critics who ranted about the evils of novel-reading, or (a bit later on) the dissipation of ragtime, movies, jazz, rock-n-roll, selfies, or video games.
Excerpt from forthcoming From Fanfiction to Original Fiction (Vera Rozalsky with E. P. Beaumont)