Netflix's Black Mirror spinoff Bandersnatch really resonated with viewers, and for good reason. It took a relatable protagonist with real-world strengths, weaknesses, and concerns, and slotted him into a position any of us would be envious of: creating his very own video game with his idol! As it turned out, things were far more complicated than that, but that's how the eerie, sometimes totally surreal, and always gripping Bandersnatch got us. You never knew what was coming next, even when you were the one seemingly making the choices!
While Bandersnatch arguably popularized the whole "choose your own adventure" format for a new generation of live-action viewing, it's not the first to have done so, not by a long shot. Video games were way ahead of Netflix with their own sets of addictive interactive experiences, with twists and turns aplenty – as well as endings that might not have been exactly what you expected. If you've been left reeling from the genius of Bandersnatch and want more, consider these video games for another heaping helping of awesome. You won't regret it.
Her Story is a bit different from the typical CYOA format, but it's still a game where you are in charge of your destiny. Players are charged with sifting through a police database of live-action clips taken from fictional interviews with a missing man's wife, Hannah Smith. What happened to her husband, and is Hannah involved somehow? Using fairly unconventional mechanics, players have to piece together a story from the clips at their disposal to uncover the truth, whether they want to hear it or not.
Hidden Agenda puts players in control of homicide detective Becky Marney and her friend, local district attorney Felicity Graves. The two are investigating a brutal serial killer known as The Trapper, but they end up getting a little closer to the murderer than either of them could have expected. Through quick choices powered by the PlayStation's PlayLink feature, several players can vote on the next action to be taken in game, including the assignment of a secret objective that they must try to enact at all costs. With excellent voice acting and graphics, it's like watching and interacting with a police procedural where things get extremely real very quickly.
If you've ever watched a slasher flick and thought "I could do better than that!" while the teenagers ran around aimlessly, you've got a chance to do just that in Until Dawn. Following a group of teenagers on holiday in a cabin on Blackwood Mountain, they find themselves plagued by attacks from a masked killer. They must work together to survive until sunrise, as the title implies, and throughout a cycle where players control all eight characters at one point, make choices that can drastically affect who lives and who dies. That means, like Bandersnatch, that there are a host of different endings to shoot for. If there's a character you just can't stand, don't worry — you can just let them die.
With an aesthetic that brings Stranger Things to mind and an episodic format that brings adventure games, first-person titles, and puzzle-solving together, Stories Untold is nearly like playing a game in the world of Bandersnatch — they're set in the same time periods, after all. From a text adventure at the beginning of the game to a scary period of exploration in first-person with an unknown intruder in the player's home to some other truly freaky happenings, Stories Untold is a mindscrew that needs to be played to be believed.
Late Shift is an interactive film like Bandersnatch, which makes it one of the closest things, technically, to Netflix's creation, but it's still technically a game. It's more of a movie with live-action cutscenes that continues on even while players are making choices. Because of this, choices have to be made to progress the story as the scenes play out. It follows a college student named Matt who suddenly finds himself tangled up in the British criminal underworld after being forced to work alongside a group of robbers and subsequently falling in love (or becoming friends) with a woman named May-Ling. It's an intriguing setup with an excellent cast, and perfect for anyone who enjoyed Bandersnatch.