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Item - Bandersnatch


Series: Black Mirror
Authors: Brooker, Charlie (script)
Slade, David (director)
Date: December 28, 2018
Number of Endings: 17 (includes 2 "secret" endings that require special combinations of choices to reach)
User Summary: You make decisions for a young man who gets hired to program a video game based on a (fictional) pick-a-path book.
Guillermo's Thoughts:

This episode, which is set in the eighties, is a milestone of interactive fiction. It successfully combines a sci-fi plot reminiscent of The Twilight Zone and La Jetée with the capabilities of the interactive medium, and the result is highly innovative. Its reflections on free will and predestination are reminiscent of Jason Shiga's Meanwhile..., and its breakages of the fourth wall are similar to those in Edward Packard's Hyperspace and Kim Newman's Life's Lottery. Also interesting is the fact that the viewer is only allowed ten seconds to make a choice at each branching point - if no choice is made, the film chooses the next course of action. This means that in practice you can let the story play out to its conclusion without interacting with it. The director may have intended this to show that the viewer's control of the story is not absolute, just as the player character is not in total control of his fate. If this is the case, it is a brilliant design choice.

The film is also innovative in that one of the distinguishing features of the interactive medium - the ability to retrace your steps and make a different choice - is not just an excuse to tell multiple lightly-related stories but is a core attribute of the storytelling. Reaching the conclusion actually requires experiencing several premature endings and going back over previous choices multiple times. Overall, this is a superb interactive film which hopefully will change how many people think about branching-path fiction.

More reviews by Guillermo

Special Thanks:Thanks to Guillermo Paredes for the screen shot.

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