The border between games and movies is blurry, and Bandersnatch is a perfect example of that. Black Mirror: Bandersnatch published by Netflix. The game is part of the Black Mirror series. People say Bandersnatch is a movie because there are real actors and it’s on Netflix.
It’s hard to say what is a movie and what is a game nowadays. These two are getting closer and closer to each other all the time. Interactivity combines games and movies as both strive towards. When the player or the viewer can take part in the game, they will be more immersed in it and more likely to finish it.
The Black Mirror series focuses on displaying dystopias, for example, of the dominance of technology. Bandersnatch emphasizes that your own choices can change the outcome. It may be a protest against the present state of the world, and on the fact that we should do something differently. Many traditional games have similar features.
The game is interactive and player’s decisions affect the game’s ending. The Player makes decisions for the main character, who is a young programmer named Stefan Butler (Fionn Whitehead). He wants to make his own choose-your-own-adventure video game within the story. Bandersnatch is set in the year 1984. Butler’s own reality begins to be disturbed when the game progresses and he gets deeper and deeper into his own game. His awareness of the player’s presence changes and the fourth wall crumbles.
Mohan Thakur (Asim Chaudhry) and Colin Ritman (Will Poulter) are both working at a video game company that wants to publish Butler’s game. They are trying to help Butler in finishing his game. Butler’s father, Peter (Craig Parkinson), wants Butler to see a therapist and to talk to Dr. Haynes (Alice Lowe) about his mother’s death and Butler’s current behavior while developing his own game.
Gametime is only 90 minutes for the default path, but the replay value is high. In the game, you decide many things that can feel useless. For example, which breakfast cereal you want to eat or what kind of music you want to listen to. Any choice you make can have a significant effect on the game’s ending. The game has five main endings and a couple of hidden ones. The game may also end at any point when Butler’s game is released as a flop.
Bandersnatch has many of the same features as Quantic Dream’s games. For example, in Detroit: Become Human the player can make decisions that affect the game endings too. As well Bandersnatch has many different endings. Detroit: Become Human uses real actors as models for the characters. This makes the game very cinematic.
So, is Bandersnatch a game or not? I’d say that it is. Games are becoming more and more realistic and movies are becoming more interactive all the time. Game companies have begun to use real actors to make games more realistic. I think it’s only a matter of time when fully acted games become the new norm. The biggest thing that makes Bandersnatch a game is multiple endings.
I’m also thinking about this text: can it be a game review or is it movie review?
Director: David Slade
Producer: Russel McLean
Writer: Charlie Brooker
Playing time: 90 min
Release Day: 28 December 2018
Genre: Interactive movie
Picture screenshot by the author.