Bandersnatch on Dec. 28, 2018, and viewers found themselves having a very unique experience. While Black Mirror has had episodes about video games before such as Season 3's "Playtest" and Season 4's "USS Callister", The Black Mirror movie Bandersnatch feels more like a video game then an episode of television thanks to its choose-your-own-adventure format. While the actual Bandersnatch game may drive viewers mad, there's a chance that the interactive format was fun anyway. While there's not many more movies out there quite like it, there are at least 11 video games like Black Mirror: Bandersnatch that fans looking for a similar experience should seek out.
The core mechanic of
Bandersnatch is simple — every now and then you're given a choice. Some choices matter more than others. For example, choosing to chase down a fellow game developer instead of going to therapy could result in a drug trip with frightening consequences, and going to therapy could lead to Stefan learning that his entire existence is a Netflix program. Other times the stakes are less high — you pick a cereal for him to eat and music to listen to, the specification of which brings little to no consequence to Stefan's life.
Each of the games listed here center around similar mechanics, featuring either branching story paths, multiple endings, or a twisted narrative viewed from multiple perspectives.
Until Dawn (PS4)
If you like your interactive stories with a little bit more blood and horror, then
Until Dawn is the game for you. A group of teens spend a night in a remote cabin, and just like all horror movies things tend to go wrong. The player's choices dictate who makes it out alive, and the game is short enough that it's worth replaying to see if you can save everyone. The Stanley Parable (PC)
You're looking at two doors, one to your left and one to your right. A narrator says you go through the left door. Do you? what happens if you don't? If your favorite part of
Bandersnatch was the bonkers , then you're going to love exploring the hilarious multiple endings of Netflix meta-textual ending The Stanley Parable. Her Story (PC, iOS) Her Story isn't quite like other choose-your-own-story games as your choices don't affect the story. Instead, your choices affect how you hear the story. You take control of an old police computer and uncover different interviews with a murder suspect through search terms. If you pay attention to the dialogue and search the right words, the story slowly unfurls to reveal something even more twisted and shocking than Bandersnatch. Life Is Strange (PS4, Xbox, PC, iOS)
One of the definitive pillars of recent choose-your-own-adventure games,
Life Is Strange tells the story of a teenager who can rewind time and make new choices while trying to uncover the dark secrets of her coastal Oregon town. With lots of mystery and mountains of teen angst, Life Is Strange is perfect for anyone who wants something like Bandersnatch with a YA twist. The Walking Dead: Season One (PS4, Xbox, Switch, PC, iOS) The Walking Dead may be one of television's biggest hits, but for some people the definitive Walking Dead story is this 2012 video game. Produced by Telltale Games, The Walking Dead: Season One tells an entirely different story from the television series or the comic book series and allow player choices to make crucial decisions — sometimes including who lives or dies. Be sure to have tissues on hand for this one, because things get emotional. The Wolf Among Us (PS4, Xbox, PC, iOS)
Did someone accidentally drop noir in a fantasy story, or did someone accidentally drop fantasy in a noir story? Either way, this genre-bending narrative from the creators of
The Walking Dead: Season One uses the same mechanics of letting player choices large and small affect details of the overall narrative, while still keeping the larger story mostly untouched. Doki Doki Literature Club (PC) Doki Doki Literature Club may look cute, but don't be fooled. This visual novel is more harrowing, more gruesome, and more violent than any episode of Black Mirror yet. The game gives you choices about which member of the literature club to get more familiar with, but much like Bandersnatch, sometimes the choices you're presented are merely the illusion of choice. Best of all, it's free. Zero Escape: The Nonary Games (PC, PS4, 3DS) Zero Escape: The Nonary Games is like two super-sized episodes of Black Mirror spread out over two games with escape room puzzles dispersed throughout. Between the two games included, 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors and Virtue's Last Reward, there are dozens of endings for characters to unlock and enough complicated scientific concepts to fill multiple seasons of Black Mirror. If you liked Bandersnatch and want more, The Nonary Games should be more than enough to satisfy. Reigns: Her Majesty (iOS, Switch, PC)
If you've ever swiped through Tinder and wished your swipes had an effect on your kingdom, than
Reigns: Her Majesty is the game for you. You're forced to make decisions based on your subjects wishes by swiping left or right and following a dynasty built upon the choices of their predecessors. It's fun, quick, and is perfectly suited to be played in quick bursts on public transit. Heavy Rain (PS4)
There's a killer on the loose, and it's up to you to stop them in
Heavy Rain. This crime story involves making different dialogue choices through various characters, and if you make the wrong choices than the Origami Killer won't be the only one responsible for a character's death — you will be, as well. Undertale (PC, PS4, Switch) Undertale isn't quite like the other games on this list. Instead of making choices of dialogue, every time you come across an enemy you have the opportunity to fight and kill them, or spare and become friends with them. The game plays out in dramatically different ways if you choose to spare each of the adorable creatures you come across, and if you choose to kill these creatures things get darker than even the bleakest of Black Mirror episodes.
The game also features a variety of meta-textual techniques that make
look like child's play, breaking down some of the game's central concepts as it goes on. Bandersnatch's Netflix path Undertale may not feature choices in the same way Bandersnatch does, but there's nothing on this list that comes closer to the spirit of the Black Mirror movie. Bandersnatch may be a massive step forward for television, but it's merely catching up to formats that video games have been using for years. While Black Mirror may never return to the well of interactive fiction, there are plenty of other titles available to keep curious minds entertained until the next landmark interactive film comes out.
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