Bandersnatch

So…I just watched Bandersnatch.

I was disappointed. I mean, I knew I was going to be disappointed. But I was still intensely frustrated by it.

In particular, I was frustrated with the idea that choice was an illusion, and therefore your choices in the game don’t matter. (I say this because we–COG–spend so much time trying to make sure that choices DO matter.) And the choice design generally was frustrating/primitive.

Did you all have thoughts?

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Well I thought it was fun, especially when I chose the Netflix choice option, But hey. To each there own I guess.

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I thought the choice structure was very binary and both of my sisters and I grew bored of the movie early because the actual story arcs were quite lackluster.

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I actually enjoyed it a lot!

spoilers because the tag won't work on my phone

I knew that I would be incredibly limited in choices, so I didn’t go in with any serious expectations. Due to that, I was blown away. The actor who plays Stefan is so incredibly talented. I enjoyed Colin, as well. And small, almost unnoticeable effects, such as Colin’s eyes drooping while they’re on 'cid are just great.

It wasn’t as scary as I was anticipating, and I think I got all 5 endings, but I’m not 100% certain (I played for 6 hours the day it came out and promptly stopped).

Some of the best features came about through the rewind feature, sort of like 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors (and the lesser sequels, the Zero Escape series). As you unlocked further information, tiny added scenes came about, like Colin handing Stefan a tape and going, “Okay, skip to the next part. Here, I’ll do it for you claps

I have nothing but praise for this, because it could really further the IF medium (ofc, I played the old DND KF movie with the amazing-for the time- CGI when I was a kid, so I’m a little biased towards IF movies).

It has its downfalls, but it’s an amazing step in the right direction.

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I LOVE Black Mirror, so let me preface it with that, but I don’t think it was the right show to do with this.

I think they were playing on the whole determinism vs. free will side of philosophy, but it kind of felt flatter than their usual quality because they set up “choices” that didn’t have any weight. They very well could have, and again I reiterate a different show/genre probably would have been better.

That said, I did enjoy it. I really just enjoyed the acting and the overall “aesthetic” that is typical of Black Mirror. Basically, it kept me entertained, but sadly not for the reason I had hoped it would.

I do hope that more mainstream media outlets see this as a positive, however, and that people become interested in exploring this from it. (Individuals on their own, as well!)

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I would think the Video Game “Until Dawn” Did a wonderful job where every choice and decision will lead to a different scene and ending :slight_smile: , and depending on who are the survivors

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I do wonder if it would be possible to turn CoGs with stats into on interactive video.

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One of the biggest differences between COGs (and most CSGs) and an interactive video (FMV) is the protagonist. In an FMV, you pretty much need to have a defined protagonist. The viewer isn’t playing themselves, they’re playing a specific person. To give the player the option to, for example, choose the gender or ethnicity of their protagonist exponentially increases the cost of production.

So, you could write a COG-style FMV, but this is one significant compromise you’d have to make.

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I was disappointed, but mostly because even with a set of binary choices you could have delayed branching. And they don’t. And even with binary choices, one of them doesn’t have to be “wrong,” and most choices had a wrong option. :woman_shrugging: Also, how is it they get away with referencing “choose your own adventure” as though that were a genericized trademark?

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True. I mean if we’d say let the player choose from preset protags, it would still mean at least 6 and more versions of the same scenes.

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Quite alot of Bandersnatch was filmed near my workplace

I hope Chooseco has the finest attorneys money can buy!

And I hope their legal briefs include choices and various different conclusions.

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I was going to say I loved the super 70’s architecture of what looks like a train station/mall where the PC buys records, as well as the therapist’s office. Where is that?

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Ok but also the fact that the symbol that drives the PC and his mentor mad is just a little branching diagram…this is the kind of stuff about Black Mirror taking itself so seriously that I was just in stitches laughing.

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I’m torn.
Minor spoiler-y, I guess.

I actually liked that he could feel that it wasn’t him making the choices, I thought that was quite interesting, and not really something I’ve personally seen before.

One thing I didn’t like was that I was automatically the bad guy. And I know that it’s black mirror, but I didn’t want to be this evil thing that wanted his life to be miserable, if that makes sense. I tried to make “good choices”, which would only lead me to dead ends.

I agree with @ashestoashes018 about the rewind feature though, I thought that was really cool.

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I’m torn too. I liked that it was attempted and that it may make people interested in IF and CYOA who don’t know the community is still generating new stories. Not a great plot though.

Also, as a film, it took a lot of work which is commendable.

I wrote a blog post about it.

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What did you think of the late-game mechanic where dead end choices turned into “it was all a dream” before proceeding as opposed to the “rewind” on dead end? To me, it seemed like their version of “failing forward,” sort of.

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Personally I loved it,
I liked how it it showed of off he illusion of free will that the charecter is having and how he slowly comes to recognize it and how he tries to fight back but even withought direct control it’s still impossible to fight back, a fitting black mirror theme
The binary choices system used itself to great degree by having an impact in story With Phillip eventually realizing that real life has become a choice game through the symbol using symbolism as an actual plot device was a pretty good twist personally.
And finally I loved the Schrödinger’s cat scenario that the show was making, showing how all of the possible choices, timeslines, and how they all blend together with your coworkers advice are all still their own separate realities. Eventually culminating in my paths ending with Phillip eventually deciding to just say “screw it” and using everything he had learned to defy fate and let himself die in his moms arms in the flashback to get away from it. I thought that was a fitting, bittersweet ending for a black mirror episode

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As a show and not really judging it by the choices element, it was decent and I enjoyed it enough. But I do agree that the choices didn’t really mean much. After watching that show and playing interactive games like Choices, I’ve learned that this is pretty much the only place (besides video games) where your choice really does matter and it effects the game play in it’s entirety.

I don’t like it either. Pretty much because of everything that was said here already: binary choices, fake choices that forces us to replay a whole scene, how the game forces you to wait (unlike Telltale’s games to give an example, that once you make your choice the game moves on)… I mean, I think this sort of stuff is way more limited than in a game or gamebook, even if it was Netflix 100th attempt to make an interactive movie, I don’t think we can expect much from it. But I gotta say, I was hopping something a bit better even for a first try. It seems like Netflix really made Bandersnatch thinking it was an original idea that belonged to them, instead of taking a look at gamebooks and games that are interactive so they would know better what works and what doesn’t.
Which takes me to another topic: I’m kinda hating Netflix watchers for this? No, hate is troo strong, it’s more like uh… I’ve seeing plenty hypocrites since this movie-game was released, similar to what happened when Life is Strange was released, more os less: when Beyond Two Souls was released, I couldn’t believe the amount of people who didn’t like the game saying “it looks too much like a movie and I want to play real games, not watch a movie”. Then Life is Strange was released and suddenly everybody was loving it because… Square Enix, I guess. Now I’m seeing it happen again, but in an even worst way: they’re enjoying too much a MOVIE that you can PLAY. I mean, that’s EXACTLY why they complained about Beyond Two Souls in the first place, how come they’re suddenly enjoying the idea now? Sure, some people may have their minds changed with the years but I don’t buy it happened with this much of people.

Sooo, nah. I didn’t even finish it. Stopped when Colin drugged Stefan. It is good that IFs are getting more and more popular but as I said, I was expecting something better even for a first attempt. It kinda makes me worry people enjoy it too much so better IFs get compromissed, I don’t know…