Bandersnatch is snatching the internet’s attention

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Bandersnatch is snatching the internet’s attention

Stefan (left) and Colin (right) discussing video games.

Stefan (left) and Colin (right) discussing video games.

Polygon

Stefan (left) and Colin (right) discussing video games.

Polygon

Polygon

Stefan (left) and Colin (right) discussing video games.

Macy Fowler, Academic Beat Leader

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With the constant advancement of technology, it was only a matter of time before an interactive movie appeared in a streaming service. As a kid, I read plenty of books that were a choose-your-own-adventure, and they became a quite entertaining way to spend my time. Black Mirror’s production with Netflix created Bandersnatch, the first movie where the viewer decides how it ends. The story follows the main character, Stefan Butler, a young programmer who converts a dark science fiction novel into a video game maze.

Stefan working on his game, Bandersnatch.

The movie is set in the United Kingdom during 1984, where technology is just beginning to grow. Stefan finds himself trying to get a job at Tuckersoft, where well-known programmer, Colin Ritman, welcomes Butler to the job. Stefan slowly begins to notice something is off, especially when he starts doing things that he would not normally do. He finally learns someone else is controlling his decisions and questions who it is. Here, the watcher is given a choice to tell him. Stefan also learns more about his mother’s death, as that is a main plot point throughout the movie.

Although the choices may seem insignificant and like they have no effect whatsoever, they can drastically change the movie. Towards the beginning of the movie, the watcher is given a choice of Frosted Flakes or Sugar O’s for breakfast, which does not seem like it could have a wrong answer. Some choices were created depending on where viewers live; the viewer will choose a certain one that they are more familiar with. Once your final decision is made and you watch the credits roll, you are given an option to go back and change your choice, or end the video. Although some of the choices are quite simplistic, there are a few morally conflicting ones where I did not make my decision until the last minute. It is helpful that you can skip backwards or forwards, as sometimes you can skip small details that will affect an important future option. There were a few times I completely restarted the movie so I could change my beginning options to hopefully acquire a better outcome. There are five main endings, but Netflix tweeted that there are other endings if you make a certain decision. Additionally, some people have created entire maps of the decisions and where ones will take you. Personally, I would suggest that you do not research any of the endings or how to get there until you have completed the game at least once. After I finished the first time, I glanced over the different ways to get one of the five endings before going back through.

Netflix confirmed more interactive movies are in production, as Bandersnatch has become quite popular. The genre of choosing your own adventure has expanded into the realm of streaming services, which is a smart idea on companies parts. With the genre expanding, I am excited to see what Netflix has in store, and if they will work with Black Mirror in the future.