I think interactive movies need to be the next big "thing".

Such fun!

Black Mirror did it which was quite fun.

Netflix also has a show called “You vs Wild”. Which is basically an adventure guy surviving in the jungle. At various points in the show you have to decide if he does “A” or “B”. The object is to survive the mission. (Really though, I don’t think there are any “wrong” choices. Still fun though)

Wish there were more out there.

I think this format would be great for Natgeo’s “Brain Games”.

I’ve not seen the show. How did they do it?

Isn’t that called a video game?


At certain points you would be offered a choice of what the character does next. These could be as trivial as what kind of breakfast cereal to eat or major decisions that determined which way the plot would go. Sometimes it would allow you to go back to the last decision point and choose the alternative. The endings were radically different.

I found it quite interesting but too time consuming if you wanted to pursue all the variant choices. Some of the choices led to the same scenario you had seen before which you had to watch to the end of that segment before you got another choice. I would have preferred a set-up where you could fast-forward or jump ahead through segments that were the same as ones you had seen before. I followed the branches through most of the scenarios but I don’t think I got them all, and didn’t care to sit through segments to check if I did.

I’m not really familiar with video games but I think the segments in Bandersnatch were mostly much longer, and there was an actual plot (or several wildly variant plots depending on what you chose). The object wasn’t simply to “survive the mission” but to tell a story (or stories). Perhaps You vs Wild is more like a video game.

And was this for every episode or just one or two? Was this on the blu-ray, their website or some other source? Where would I go and what would I do if I wanted to watch it and try it out for myself? Assuming of course that option is still open to me.

If my 71yo mother can play it, I don’t think it qualifies as a video game.

Not really interested in debating semantics anyway.

Yes. For the same reason why “choose your own adventure” is the only type of book published.

It’s a fad. No, not even a fad – an attempt to create one.

You just need a gaming console and a Netflix subscription.

Netflix I got, but there’s no gaming console in sight. Oh well.

Depends on the game, of course, but they can have very in depth plots and wildly different endings depending on your actions.

I think we might see a version of what the OP suggests, in the form of 360-degree vision in the future. Some theaters might offer you VR headsets in which you can watch the movie from a 360-degree perspective so you can not only just see the characters acting on screen, but the other characters around them and behind them - hard to describe but yes, it would be truly immersive.

Some people are saying they were able to use their remote, while others were saying it didn’t work for them. It seems like it should work on a computer or laptop, but IDK for sure.

There are entire genres of video games based on this concept. It’s basically a very simple graphic adventure game (ie: Life is Strange, or most of Tell Tale Games’ ouvre - more like the latter, since LiS and games more similar to it involve player controlled exploration).

Netflix’s interactive movies work on computer or Android devices…anything else an open question (my TV didn’t work for Bandersnatch (but it did for the Puss in Boots and Buddy Thunderstruck inteeractive episodes, so I’m not sure when that changed), my BR player (which uses an otherwise identical app) did).

Something like this:


Interactivity is not what I’m looking for in TV and movies.

I hope this doesn’t even rise to fad level. I’ve read some “choose your own adventure” comics, and I always have to traverse all possible paths.

Whatever device you posted this on will work.

The fundamental problem with interactive fiction is that it either that narrative choices either have to be very constricted, as in Bandersnatch which just felt like you were passively watching the protagonist response, or else the storyline has to be relatively loose (“sandboxing” in RPG terms) which make it difficult to have thematically affecting and meaningful plotting, which is a problem with computer RPG games like the Fallout or Red Dead Redemption series where the game eventually feels like a series of pointless side-quests unless unless you follow the mainline story to the virtual exclusion of side stories. As a kid, I used to love the Choose Your Own Adventure books but they were designed to be read repetitively and many of the endings were essentially arbitrary.

I watched Bandersnatch for about an hour and went through enough choices that it got repetitive, and I felt that the protagonist was so passive that he wasn’t really very interesting. I’d rather play an Indiana Jones or Sherlock Holmes character with a strong personality whose investigative actions drive the story narrative, but it is very difficult to do that without either restricting the narrative line, feeding the player obvious clues, and making the protagonist essentially invulnerable (or having to repeat the story over and over). It is difficult how such a format could tell a story with deep thematic weight or emotional investment of great fiction.

An adaptive AI which could actually guide the story reactively to the viewer’s (player’s?) responses might be able to maintain a coherent and engaging narrative structure, but I don’t think the state of the art is there yet. Douglas Adams worked on a little-known project called Starship Titanic which was one of the first attempts at a truly interactive game in which natural language responses (instead of multiple choice) could be used, but it wasn’t particularly successful because of the narrative problems above, i.e. it essentially felt as if you were just walking around an abandoned starship without purpose. A better effort was the late ‘Nineties Blade Runner game that actually varied elements of the story and had programmed pushes to force the story into a structured conclusion, so it was replayable but the character still felt like a puppet rather than a free extension of the player. More recent efforts like RDR don’t really feel that more advanced in terms of opening up interactions with other characters.