Netflix found a way to market a choose your own adventure game. Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is that game.
I only played through it once, but you could go back to the beginning and play it several times if you were so inclined. My game took almost two hours, and I could have made it last longer.
The adventure loops back and forth, offering you some of the same options a second time, or changing to a different timeline where you choose from similar events.
Fionn Whitehead plays Stefan Butler. Stefan invents a game in 1984 using primitive technology from that time. He bases the game on the choose your own adventure novel “Bandersnatch” that belonged to his mother. A game company wants to buy it and market it, but the path to achieve that keeps changing depending on the viewer’s choices.
Some of the choices we got to make as players were quite funny. There are also spots where you can choose to keep playing or go straight to the credits.
This being Black Mirror, it isn’t straightforward, though. As the story grew more and more intense, Stefan was sure he was being controlled. He was “out of control.” Some strange entity (me) was controlling him. He was close to insanity.
The joke is that the viewer thinks they are in control of the story. They aren’t, however. The story is in control of you. It’s a lovely irony that felt very Black Mirror. Since I only played it once, I don’t know if that happens in every possible version of the game.
Craig Parkinson played Stefan’s father. Stefan’s idol game developer Colin was played by Will Poulter. Also featured were Alice Lowe, Asim Chaudhry, and Tallulah Haddon.
Psst. Want to know about the secret Easter Egg at the end? The Wrap has directions.