The lines between video games and TV/movies have been blurring for years now, but this week that hybridization seems to have reached a new level…
And people aren’t quite sure what to do with it!
This week, Netflix and Black Mirror creators Charles Brooker and Annabel Jones dropped a new episode of the pitch-dark series, which posits all sorts of mostly mortifying places to which our constantly evolving technology and digital culture may lead in the not-too-distant future.
But this time, it’s Black Mirror itself making the technological breakthrough.The new episode (which is actually more of a movie) is a “choose your own adventure.”
It’s entitled “Bandersnatch,” and it’s interactive.
Viewers choose what happens next in the story, or, if they elect not to, the film makes a choice at random. There are five possible endings, with a total running time anywhere from 40 to 90 minutes, depending on the viewer’s choices.
Naturally, this has really wowed the viewing audience.
Oh holy hell it is a Choose Your Own Adventure, they’ve actually done it. https://t.co/H35r0uKYRT
— Scott Bryan (@scottygb) December 28, 2018
After all, this is quite a breakthrough. Netflix even had to create its own software tool to write the story—a story that has over a trillion possible unique permutations!
But some of those permutations put the story’s main character, Stefan (played by Dunkirk‘s Fionn Whitehead) into some mortifyingly sticky situations.
And on social media, people are having some crises of conscience over where their choices are making Stefan go.
Which, knowing Brooker, is probably the entire point of this!
— tiphaine (@bowergosling) December 28, 2018
— NIELS NABLE (@nielsnable) December 28, 2018
— Denisse ♡ (@velvetinvenice) December 28, 2018
me: *chooses stefan to jump*
him: *actually does it*
— tyana 🧛🏼♀️ (@solaryeols) December 28, 2018
— Mark Jayson Farol (@mark_jayson13) December 28, 2018
— j (@j8z1yn) December 28, 2018
— abigail (@cvrdanjude) December 28, 2018
Beginning of Black Mirror #Bandersnatch: “oh, this is cool. I get to choose the story.”
By the end: pic.twitter.com/3GD2sd65QM
— LiamDevine9 (@Devine9Liam) December 29, 2018
Me: Wow I really wanna make Stefan happy—
Black Mirror: pic.twitter.com/PaJHZea8c8
— 🍼 (@getooftscoob) December 29, 2018
— 𝐟𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐤 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐩𝐨𝐥𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐬𝐩𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠 (@nudeflex) December 29, 2018
And apparently, some of this life-ruining all comes down to cereal choice.
We’ll never look at Froot Loops or Lucky Charms the same again (those aren’t the cereals in “Bandersnatch” but who knows what would happen if they were‽).
“This is a choose your own adventure film.”
Me: “Ok, no problem.”
*frosties or sugar puffs*
— X (@XLNB) December 28, 2018
me: ok new black mirror ep this is going be so cool with choose my own adventure!
bandersnatch: sugar puffs or frosties?
— ɱιɳƙყ 💕 (@psychedeaky) December 29, 2018
wait i just woke up i haven’t watched bandersnatch yet but stefan i’m coming for you i’m gonna make sure you eat frosties for breakfast
— maya (@Iastavenger) December 28, 2018
And to make your choices even more difficult to decide upon, apparently the endings to “Bandersnatch” are full of Easter eggs you’ll only find if you make the right choices…
…and according to the episode’s director David Slade, many of them are so difficult to find they “may never be unlocked.”
Anyway, if you’re like some people and this is just not your cup of tea…
Is it bad I’m too lazy to do an interactive black mirror movie like fuck off and give me 6 episodes I can binge all in one day
— m (@marissuh_x) December 29, 2018
…fear not: a full new season of Black Mirror drops in 2019.
Netflix has told me that the fifth season of Black Mirror is still to come in 2019. Bandersnatch was not the fifth season, but a standalone interactive film, in case you were wondering.
— Scott Bryan (@scottygb) December 29, 2018
And don’t worry—it’ll make all the choices for you!