Netflix releases choose-your-own-adventure film 'Black Mirror: Bandersnatch'
Everybody remembers Choose Your Own Adventure, a series of children's gamebooks written in the second person point of view. The reader is the protagonist, and the choices you make affect the story's outcome.
Today Netflix released an interactive, feature-length episode of Black Mirror that uses the choose-your-own-adventure concept. If you're not familiar with Black Mirror, congratulations, you probably sleep well at night.
Basically, Black Mirror is The Twilight Zone for the Twitter age, an anthology sci-fi series that satirizes our relationship with technology. The episodes stand alone, and are typically set in an alternate reality - like a world where you can upload your consciousness to 'the cloud' when you die, or a world where you 'rate' everyone you interact with on a five-star-scale.
The characters often make fateful decisions with dark consequences, which makes Black Mirror the perfect series for a choose-your-own-adventure story. Finally, you can live inside a nightmare!
The official synopsis for Bandersnatch reads: "In 1984, a young programmer begins to question reality as he adapts a sprawling fantasy novel into a video game and soon faces a mind-mangling challenge. Welcome back."
Here's how it works: At certain points in the film, you're asked to choose between two different options. Once you've made your decision, the movie continues playing uninterrupted, without any loading time or fade to black. If you don't decide before the time runs out, an option will be selected be random.
While speaking with Variety, Black Mirror executive producers Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones revealed that there are five possible endings to the film. Depending on your choices, the runtime could be 40 minutes or 90 minutes. (And if you're like me, you'll keep watching or 'playing' it over and over, to see all the possible outcomes.)
Netflix has produced interactive children's titles before, like Puss in Boots: Trapped in an Epic Tale and Buddy Thunderstruck: The Maybe Pile, but this is their first interactive film for adults. The character in Bandersnatch finds himself sucked into an interactive video game, with reality bleeding into fantasy, a meta-commentary on the innovative format.
Roleplaying video games like Mass Effect and Skyrim have been incredibly popular, as gamers can play them over and over again, make different choices and have a totally different experience.
However, Netflix vice president of product Todd Yellin told Variety that he doesn't think of Bandersnatch as a game. "We are telling stories," he stated. "We think we are onto something that could be really exciting."
Maybe this will the open the floodgates for more interactive shows. Imagine a choose-your-own-adventure episode of The Haunting Of Hill House! The Bent Neck Lady is staring at you. Do you want to scream, or give her a hug?