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“Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” Review

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“Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” Review

Veeda Khan, Staff Writer

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Disclaimer: This article contains spoilers for Black Mirror: Bandersnatch.


 

Black Mirror has always made viewers question their actions and the society that they live in. But an entertainment medium is still difficult to manipulate when you want people to truly feel the weight of their actions. Bandersnatch tackles that idea head on.

At its most basic plot, Bandersnatch is about a struggling game developer, Stefan, who is looking to have his game released. He has a stilted relationship with his father which is caused by the death of his mother, which he blames himself for.

But there’s a twist. Throughout the story, the viewers are able to make decisions for Stefan. Some are there just for aesthetic purposes (such as what music he should listen to), others become detrimental to the story.

The concept is intriguing and very well executed. The decisions made are interesting and the multiple endings make this a game to play over and over again. Sure, at times the story is abruptly cut short, but Netflix allows you to easily go back to the previous decision to keep it going.

But the plot lacks meaning. Bandersnatch doesn’t seem to have a point other than to entertain. I didn’t end up thinking about it more than “It’s a cool concept.” Yes, it has the typical Black Mirror style violence and gore (the gritty visuals stay throughout), but the overall story isn’t warning us about anything. And that is what Black Mirror is known for.

The different endings also make it difficult to feel emotional over the characters. Unlike other “choose your own adventure” games, Bandersnatch creates completely different realities based on your answer. In one, Stefan is part of a government operation, in another, he’s an actor in a television show. The multiple realities, though the point of the game, prevent you from becoming too invested in Stefan’s story.

That being said, the meta approach gives the show an entirely different vibe. Instead of becoming invested in Stefan’s story, you become invested in your own actions. It’s not often that a show breaks the fourth wall, and to see it be done over and over again is refreshing.

Overall, it’s an engaging interactive experience and definitely worth the time. “Choose your own adventure video games” have been popular for decades, from Life Is Strange to Until Dawn, but they’ve never been truly introduced into mainstream media. With Netflix’s new technology, it will be interesting to see how the new ways it’ll be used.

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“Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” Review