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Black Mirror: Bandersnatch – Review

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch

Reviewer: Daniel "Nightmare-ACTUAL" Patterson

Case # 000-009 Codename: Bandersnatch

Years ago I used to live in Monahans, Texas. I can’t remember much of the school name and the specific town. My late father worked as a writer for a local newspaper. At a young age going to the local school. I did not spend much time at the library but I did pick up books daily. In that time I read many books. Most of them highly regarded in the literature community, and among those books were these “Choose Your Own Adventure” books.

“You’re The Star! 40 Thrilling Endings!” “Will You Become Trapped In Time”? You are hiking in Snake Canyon when you find yourself lost in the strange, dimly lit Cave of Time. Gradually you can make out two passageways. One curves downward to the right; the other leads upward to the left. It occurs to you that the one leading down may go to the past and the one leading up may go to the future. Which way will you choose?

The first “Choose Your Own Story” book I read (pictured above) is “The Cave Of Time” created by Edward Packard and published in 1979, the first book in the series. I remember reading this for hours. As it offers multiple endings and you are presented with multiple choices. A definite appeal to reading these given the uncertainty, and freedom of choice.

The latest entry into the Black Mirror universe is this interactive episode named Bandersnatch. The year is 1984, we follow the story of Stefan. He is an up and coming video game developer. He is recreating a book called Bandersnatch into a video game. The book was created by Jerome F. Davies, as the story progresses you ascertain that he suffered from mental health problems all leading up to a gruesome end. You will also see a biographical book and a documentary detailing his descent into madness. Choices, paths, and endings; these are the main points offered in this interactive episode of Black Mirror. The game Stefan is creating, much like the book which grants you different choices upon arriving at certain points that branch the storyline.

When you are presented with a choice you have around 10 seconds to respond. Once you make your choice your pathways change, altering the progression of the story leading to multiple endings. I don’t know how many hours I spent going through diverging options going down the many lanes of the story. Going back and redoing only to end up in an alternate tangent.

Through and through, Bandersnatch is a roller coaster as the tension builds between the different parts where you are given two choices. I loved the symmetry between cinematography, the music, and story in this recent entry, all within the Black Mirror universe. I tend to gravitate to nonlinear forms of entertainment.

As a gamer myself the best games I’ve played all have the freedom of choice or the ‘illusion’ of it. Bandersnatch offers five main endings of the game, none of which I will go into detail. I highly recommend going into this with an unbiased state of mind. Expectations of things has the potential to create problems and sour the experience very in par with the previous episodes in the series. Black Mirror recreates several things we have now in this day in age but takes it to the extreme. I can recommend this to anyone who likes science fiction and thriller shows or movies.

The episode leisurely walks the middle ground between the two. If you are like me a big ol’ dead inside softie, the nostalgia I felt watching this was overwhelming. The episode really took me back to simpler times, thanks to the whole nature of it. The setting of the games seem very similar to ones I used to be able to play. All in all, if Black Mirror was something you enjoyed then I highly recommend checking out Bandersnatch. Thank you reader for taking the time to read through my little unorthodox review. Wanted to keep it short, not because of my inability to be critical but much of the experience is the uncertainty.

Will you submit to Pax or will you worship him? The choice is yours.

Nightmare, out.

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