Black Mirror


It was fun - especially a branch that went deep into meta territory.

We went through all permutations in 2-3 hours.


How many choices do you get to make, roughly?


No idea. Some choices open up only if you go down a certain path. There are guides showing all the various paths, and it’s pretty numerous;

Spoilers if you click the link, obviously.


Apparently there are people who actually chose ‘Sugar Puffs’? Interesting.


Yup, we are the world’s most interesting people.


Lies! Pretty sure that was the default choice, so those who did nothing chose it as well. Interesting…phah!


There are a lot of “flavor” choices that I don’t think really mean anything. Maybe 4 or so major branches that can be recursive. 4-5 endings - although taking different paths can result in new dialogue prior just prior to each ending. Sometimes there isn’t even an ending just a fade to black and an option to remake your decision to be the “right one”. There are several winks to this in the dialogue. In my opinion there are two “true endings” depending on how you look at it.

The Bandersnatch tries vary hard to be interactive Donnie Darko. It is interesting - I’d say enjoyable - and super meta, but it isn’t this super expansive thing. I mean there are a variety of games that have done this better. Like most “choose your own adventure” games, you’ll find that there is a lot less narrative choice and difference between certain decisions than you expect. I’d say it is much more impressive to the general population that hasn’t been exposed to this kind of narrative structure before. Although honestly, I don’t have a lot of faith that my parents would be able to figure out the how “selection” process. They have a hard enough time with their remotes as it is.

Also, the first decision point skipped for us - resulting in us having to restart the video. I knew it didn’t look right, but the average person probably wouldn’t have noticed it?


Yep, games have mined this field pretty extensively. Based on Bandersnatch, I’d argue there’s no reason to think live-action TV will do it better or with more mass appeal. And TV is at a financial disadvantage compared to games when making this kind of content, since it’s way cheaper to do massive branching with virtual actors in a game engine than film real actors on a set (which was one of the lessons learned by FMV games back in the late 90s.)

Still, it’s interesting to see something prophesied to appear Any Day Now way back in the mid-90s finally (mostly) work in the mass market. “Interactive TV” was the Next Big Thing back then. Part of what interactive TV was supposed to be was video-on-demand, i.e. streaming; of course that part has been with us for a while now. But the other half of interactive TV was supposed to be this sort of branching narrative.


I and I suspect many others, have now experienced the “choose your own adventure” story telling in three different formats. First as books, then as computer games which were popular in the early 1980s . I thought Bandersnatch was the most compelling of them all.

As I nerd I loved see the awful Basic code and the Apple/C64 graphics


If you guys liked this you should check out Late Shift on Steam.


I agree. Watched it with my 18-year-old daughter tonight and even she thought it was a hoot.

We’ll pick the frosted flakes next time and see where that goes.


Jeff Minter is pretty good casting.


ZX Spectrum. You can even download (and play with an emulator) Colin Ritman’s 4 star game Nohzdyve here:

And, yes, Jeff Minter as the crazy author was really inspired casting.


Yeah, we didn’t really have Apples in the UK then. Spectrum/BBC/Amstrad at home (then C64) and PC compatibles at work.I had one neighbour with a Macintosh, but they were American and had brought it with them. Also the Nosedive game’s graphics pretty clearly reflect the limitations of the Speccy.


The one you can actually play is called Nohzdyve, a free-falling game where you avoid hazards and collect eyeballs. The website will tell you that it was “abruptly cancelled”, and that “the world will have to wonder what Nohzdyve was like”. However, it also teases that an “early version of the game is somewhere out there, waiting to be played for the first time”. Sure enough, you can grab it from this direct download link.

It’s a .tap file, so you’ll need a ZX Spectrum emulator to play it, such as Fuse.


I wouldn’t get too hung up on this choice.


Same. We missed three choices in a row at one point due to bugs. I think that skipping ten seconds to un-freeze the video post-choice caused it. And then when Colin reappeared when we went back and had Colin jump, we didn’t realize it was a meta plot because we thought the software was broken


Hollywood Handbook gets in on the Choose Your Own Adventure action


Just finished my first “playthrough” and I think I’ve seen enough. It is not horrible, but IMO, and perhaps unsurprisingly, it felt too much like Brooker + Netflix playing with the novelty format than going for a compelling narrative (again, not unlike your typical CYOA!). It doesn’t help that the themes explored here are quite familiar to the average scifi/BM fan.

I did appreciate the cleverer winks and the fact that for the most part the references to Carroll and the 8-bit era actually had a part in the story rather than being simply checkboxes to tick off the nostalgia list, beyond the occasional groan (yes, movie, anyone who can recognize your Manic Miner poster on the wall will know the C64 had a nice sound chip, and the rest won’t care).

Anyway I generally liked the experiment, and I guess it makes for a moderately entertaining 90 minutes or so, but I wouldn’t expect anything groundbreaking here.


I didn’t appreciate it because the themes were familiar to me. I appreciated it because it brought a lot of those themes to a new audience (my wife and kids) that never experienced it themselves. It was a better insight into me than anything I could have conveyed to them. I feel the same way about most of the rest of the show - the show is an easy sell to me. The fact that I can have everyone else around me enjoy it nearly as much? That’s awesome.