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Kevin Corcoran
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Posted: 31 December 2018 at 1:20pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

I have enjoyed (and been troubled by,) several of the seasons and episodes of Black Mirror on Netflix, and the latest offering is no exception. 

This is quite a tricky viewing experience to discuss on a forum, as the structure is "choose your own adventure," with different outcomes resulting from binary choices presented onscreen and selected by the viewer. Discussing the details, results, or outcomes of choices could spoil the experience for others.

There are several (spoiler-free) details within Bandersnatch that I found interesting: callbacks to earlier episodes of Black Mirror, the title as a reference the creature from Alice Through the Looking Glass, and (last but not least) the 80s electronic / new age music.  

Has anyone else had a go (or two, or more?)
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Steve De Young
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Posted: 31 December 2018 at 1:31pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

I have.  Itís pretty amazing.  And let me say, in the most spoilers freeway possible, that the option when you get to the end to watch other segments is not just viewing other material, but is actually a recursive loop that unlocks other things.  So, keep watching at the end for as long as you can.

Edited by Steve De Young on 31 December 2018 at 1:32pm
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David Allen Perrin
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Posted: 31 December 2018 at 1:45pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

This needs to be an ongoing series in some way, shape or form.  

The interactivity was fun.  I want more of it.

Well played, Netflix.


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Kevin Corcoran
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Posted: 31 December 2018 at 3:28pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

That's interesting, Steve. I've watched it in two sittings, coming to three "endings." A couple of times I've arrived at the video displays at the "end" of a thread. I then saw a Go Back option which leads back to a "fork" where I am given the option of making the very same selection again. Thus far I've only chosen differently. Have you gone back and chosen the same fate, and if so, did anything change?
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 31 December 2018 at 6:55pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

When I first heard that BLACK MIRROR was doing a CYOA episode, I thought it was going to be a cute gimmick. But the interactivity is actually tied into the theme of the episode on multiple levels, in a typical BLACK MIRROR way.

Between two viewings, I think I've hit all the major endings. There are some minor scene variants that I haven't seen, but I'm sure I'll get around to them at some point.
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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 31 December 2018 at 8:11pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Question #1: Can you watch this without having actually watched any episodes of BLACK MIRROR? (I plan to, but have way too many other th ings to watch)

Question #2. Exactly does the interactive part work? Do you press certain commands on the remote, use the remote to pick options that pop up on the screen at various points, or something else?




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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 31 December 2018 at 10:30pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply


 QUOTE:
Question #1: Can you watch this without having actually watched any episodes of BLACK MIRROR? (I plan to, but have way too many other things to watch)


Yes. BLACK MIRROR is an anthology show, and while there are Easter Eggs to other episodes and some hints that some episodes may take place in the same universe, they are pretty much standalone. My only personal recommendation on any sort of viewing order is to make sure to watch the episode "White Christmas" before any of the Season 4 episodes, because Season 4 revisits a lot of themes from that episode, and it might lose its impact if you watch Season 4 first.


 QUOTE:
Question #2. Exactly does the interactive part work? Do you press certain commands on the remote, use the remote to pick options that pop up on the screen at various points, or something else?

At various points, you'll see two options appear at the bottom of the screen, and you have 10 seconds to choose between them.
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Steve De Young
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Posted: 01 January 2019 at 12:28am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Going back at the end and choosing another fork will produce more material, but doing that and then selecting yet another fork will produce a different set of material.  I.e. if you get ending A, you can go back and see B or C.  But if you go back and watch B and then C in that order, it will reveal D.  It tracks what you have watched, so watching certain bits in a certain order releases more bits, cumulatively.
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 01 January 2019 at 5:37am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Tried on my new laptop and via my smart bluray player,
to no avail! I don`t really want to watch on my phone`s
tiny screen!
I have read theories, that it`s a meta-test to weed out
psychopaths based on their choices...very Black Mirror!
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Jim Muir
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Posted: 01 January 2019 at 9:32am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

I was the same Bill. None of my Netflix on tv options supported the interactivity so had to end up watching it on an iPad.... very much NOT my preferred approach! Hopefully they can iron that out in future experiments.

I found it very enjoyable though it did suffer the exact same problem as the choose your own adventure books it was based on inasmuch as some choices didnít really feel like choices at all - which I realise is part of its self referential nature, but, you know...

Also amused to see the author was played by Jeff Minter. People of <ahem> a certain age may remember his groundbreaking work on the Commodore 64 and Amiga involving mutant camels and flying telephone boxes! Sound guy, and video game legend. 
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 01 January 2019 at 9:52am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Jim, it`s not as if my devices are running on niche
formats, i even updated the bluray player`s software!
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Richard White
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Posted: 02 January 2019 at 8:16am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Got wrapped up in this last night and having checked, it seems I got all the proper endings (which lead you into the credits).

Charlie Brooker the creator of Black Mirrors and the creator of this episode was once a video game journalist, which really shines through in the British 80's computer game elements
Got a real buzz out of this one.
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Ronald Joseph
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Posted: 02 January 2019 at 12:19pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

We watched it to a conclusion and then instantly re-watched using different options and absolutely loved it. 

It was already impressive and a lot of fun, but it would've been downright brilliant if...


 INVISO TEXT (Click or highlight to reveal):
...upon choosing to have Stefan jump off the ledge, the story shifts to Colin and gives you a whole new set of options to follow. Based on his drug-induced rant just beforee the jump scene, the possibilities could've been quite extreme!
 
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Thomas Woods
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Posted: 03 January 2019 at 12:39am | IP Logged | 14 post reply

A good idea, I enjoyed it, and appreciate the video
game parts ... but can't help feeling a bit
unsatisfied with the overall results.

SPOILER:


If it had ended when I chose to go on the train with
the mother (as a child) I would have been more
impressed than it continuing to some other end.




Edited by Thomas Woods on 03 January 2019 at 12:41am
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Jim Muir
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Posted: 03 January 2019 at 2:40am | IP Logged | 15 post reply

<<but can't help feeling a bit 
unsatisfied with the overall results. >>

I know what you're saying. I reached a dead end very early on (where Stefan is given the option to develop the game inhouse) and was forced to backtrack/restart. It only served to highlight the lack of choice I really had - stray too far from the rails and the train falls off.

This was the very same problem I had with the choose your own adventure books - I wanted to see each choice develop into its own unique story, not be reminded that I'm not making the 'right' choices, if that makes sense.

(And I'm well aware what an impossibly complex task it would be to actually build such a game! I guess that's why the Bandersnatch novel was a gazillion pages!)
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 03 January 2019 at 6:05am | IP Logged | 16 post reply

I know what you're saying. I reached a dead end very early on (where Stefan is given the option to develop the game inhouse) and was forced to backtrack/restart. It only served to highlight the lack of choice I really had - stray too far from the rails and the train falls off.

-----

I feel that the episode was designed assuming more people would make that choice. It's the first hint about what the episode is about and Colin's nature. The illusion of free will is one of the major themes of the episode. It's actually less satisfying taking the other route, because you don't get any hints about what is going on until much later.

In one of the endings,
 INVISO TEXT (Click or highlight to reveal):
the 5-star one, Stefan actually talks about how the key to perfecting Bandersnatch was realizing that he needed to only give players the illusion of choice while guiding the players to the endings that he predetermined.

One of the things that I caught in a second viewing
 INVISO TEXT (Click or highlight to reveal):
is that the narration in the Jerome F Davies documentary that Stefan is watching toward the end is literally telling you, the viewer, that you should kill someone because there's no such thing as free will, and that's what you end up doing, the silly Netflix endings aside.





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Kevin Corcoran
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Posted: 03 January 2019 at 12:16pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply

I've reached a couple endings now, and the most recent (5-star rating, etc) ending came about (in part, I think) because I chose my cereal differently than I had in all previous viewings. 

It is interesting to me that certain "main / essential" pathways are need to be followed to reach the credits, but I enjoyed the challenge of maneuvering around unsavory events to the best of my / Stefan's / our?ability. 

Also, this was the viewing where I caught on to Stefan's surname pun. 
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 03 January 2019 at 1:55pm | IP Logged | 18 post reply

I've reached a couple endings now, and the most recent (5-star rating, etc) ending came about (in part, I think) because I chose my cereal differently than I had in all previous viewings. 

óó

What triggers that ending is

 INVISO TEXT (Click or highlight to reveal):
what you do with Stefanís dadís body.
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Ronald Joseph
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Posted: 03 January 2019 at 2:05pm | IP Logged | 19 post reply

On the subject of easter eggs, my favorite was definitely 


 INVISO TEXT (Click or highlight to reveal):
the METL HEDD poster and video game references. It's one of my favorite BM episodes to date and and seeing it referenced like that was pretty cool.
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Richard White
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Posted: 03 January 2019 at 4:52pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

I liked that the author of the novel, when seen in photographs was Jeff Minter, who made his name as as a games coder in the UK in the 80's computer scene.

He still makes games completely by himself to this day, I'm currently enjoying Polybius on the PS4.
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