Netflix announced just back in October that they were working on a new form of entertainment: Interactive Television. They already had some early products of this concept within some kid “shows”: PUSS IN BOOK and STRETCH ARMSTRONG BREAKOUT, where within “episode” you were prompted with two choices to move the story further in whichever direction you chose within ten second span of time or it would default an answer for you. It’s a concept many people were unsure if they wanted it, but what better way to push it forward than with one of their most popular shows that warns against the horrors of technology?
On the verge of 2019, we are reminded that the future is coming, and changes are happening. Especially technological ones. Netflix chose the best show they possibly could to progress such a concept, BLACK MIRROR, giving birth to BANDERSNATCH.
Light spoilers ahead? Given this episode/experience has multiple endings, you won’t really know what you’ll be watching and my spoilers may not come up at all.
BANDERSNATCH runs on the premise of a young adult named Stefan who is an aspiring video game creator in the mid 80s that has his life wildly altered by the decisions YOU make. Yes, even choosing the Sugar Puffs over the Frosties cereals can set him on a wildly different path that affects the rest of your viewing experience. Though, you cannot necessarily make choices for every little thing. For example: you can choose what cereal he has, but you cannot decided whether or not Stefan should try marijuana for the first time. They seemed fairly good at covering all decisions throughout the experience, but perhaps it was irrelevant because it likely would have ended up the same.
Just like in the earlier versions of Netflix’s interactive television, if you didn’t choose, a decision would be defaulted for you. So in a way you could just sit back and watch it, but you may run into some dead ends where you will be forced to interact at time.
This experience can get meta as heck, as when people start getting high they start talking about YOU. There’s even a point to where you can try to communicate with Stefan and tell him that you are watching him on Netflix, or not.
Some paths are dead ends, but that’s okay because if you go down the “wrong” paths, it will give you the option to go back and choose something different. Another level is added when you go back and you are expected to know things to come, and options will change. Knowing the options and being able to change the outcome has quite an appeal to it. It’s like being able to see all of the timelines in the multiverse, though this multiverse is limited to like 3-5 timelines.
Returning to the main subject, was BLACK MIRROR: BANDERSNATCH good? That’s a bit of a difficult question to tackle, because as said before, there are multiple endings. Any ending you got first will most likely emotionally impact you the most, I’m afraid. Hopefully you’ll end up on a path that pleases you, but that’s all a part of the fun of it. It was sure as heck twisted up and on multiple levels you wouldn't expect, just as you would expect of BLACK MIRROR. In other words, it was very BLACK MIRROR. If you like that show, you'll enjoy BANDERSNATCH for sure.
There are already flowcharts floating around the internet that you can use to cheat. Really though, it’s much more fun if you don’t know where you’re going the first time around. I feel that completing the other endings with help afterwards is more fulfilling with this type of game.
For a fan created flowchart, you can grab it here. I would attach the picture, but you know. Spoilers.
I would definitely recommend experiencing BLACK MIRROR: BANDERSNATCH. It’s available for stream on Netflix today.
~Eva Snail aka Big Eyes