It was rumored that the next chapter of Black Mirror It would not be a normal episode, it would be interactive. And that it would arrive on December 28. They have been knowing data (unconfirmed until the day before) with dropper. EL PAÍS correspondent in Los Angeles, Pablo Ximénez de Sandoval, was among the first people to see how it worked Black Mirror: Bandersnatch. But the rest we had to wait until Friday 28 at 9.01 Spanish time peninsular. Two editors of Fifth season They tell their first experiences with this peculiar chapter / experiment.
Option 1. Álvaro P. Ruiz de Elvira
Premiere of Black Mirror Bandersnatch, announced only one day before (although it was rumored that the fifth season arrived on December 28). Nine and one minute in the morning and there is no chapter / film / will be what exactly is. Only the trailer appears. Was it all a Netflix joke? Several minutes pass and nothing. Until I fall. Technology has already given me the first on the forehead: I updated the app on the tablet and yes, there it is Bandersnatch. Play The story, set in the eighties, advances until the first election arrives. What cereal do you want the main character to eat? Something banal, but necessary to practice. I have ten seconds to decide. I choose the Frosties. Will this mark the future of history? In this case, I doubt it. I'm moving forward and making choices. Up to 25 I will end up doing it until the moment in which I am already dedicated to sailing backwards and looking for alternative ends.
But in the first third of the story I reach a point where it forces me to go back and choose the other option. In the first impasse I feel cheated, in the second I fall in that the least is to choose, and the fun is to explore. It's a movie and it's a game. I have fallen into the trap, surely intentional, to believe that I am watching a chapter of Black Mirror, when what they are offering me is the possibility of playing. I reach an end that I find unsatisfactory. But when it seems that the titles of credit are going to come to an end, I have the possibility of choosing something else and I enter a loop of trips backwards and forwards that hooks me.
When living several endings is when I decide that I like Bandersnatch. With one final, I was frustrated. The story itself falls short, as a chapter, it is nothing groundbreaking. But the experience is very good and Netflix He has managed to get me hooked on his platform. I stay with all the goal, which is when the viewer really feels a participant, with references to Netflix itself, to the viewer and when the protagonist just needs to look directly at the camera and say: "Now I'm going to choose myself you".
Option 2. Natalia Marcos
Friday the 28th in the morning. The day of Black Mirror: Bandersnatch. When I get down to work, I find several technical impediments: first, on the tablet I have to update the app. Once done, the first notice that appears is that I can not send the chapter to my TV using Chromecast. I accept the condition and the episode stays "loading". Several minutes later I try with the mobile. The same. I change to the computer. It works here but I do not think it's going to be the most comfortable way to watch an interactive episode. I go back to the tablet. I go out, I go back in, and the third finally loads.
Once overcome the technological difficulties and already inside, I find a chapter / video game that works at different levels: as pure fun with the format "Choose your own adventure", as one more episode of Black Mirror (a bit loosely argumentative, if we limit ourselves to this aspect), and as a meta-reality in which Stefan, the protagonist of the story, and the viewer / user are more related to each other than it may seem a priori. A game that is also, in part, frustrating for those who resist choosing the options that seem preferred by the episode to take you along the paths desired by them. I decide not to know anything about Stefan's mother and try not to go to the psychologist. That leads me to two dead ends that take me back to previous points in the story, inviting me, without saying so, to take another option. Finally I give up so as not to be trapped in an infinite loop. To my surprise, I return to a path I went through half an hour ago. I vary some decisions without major changes in their consequences. In the end, after an hour of experience, 28 decision-making and having reached two end of the story (which brings you back to the past) and two other places with no way out, I remain at a point that invites you to "try again" . As a first contact I have had enough.
Beyond the frustration of the loop in which you can see yourself involved, the experiment works if you take it more as a videogame that as a chapter or a film: decision making flows technically and in history (despite those moments in which they seem to insist on conditioning the option that you take or in which the choice does not vary only the result) and the game The meta-referential plot is fun, especially when the episode becomes self-conscious and laughs at itself. In addition to trying to find the references to other episodes of Black Mirror, that there are a few. The episode talks about (eye, spoilers), among other things, the lack of capacity to make our own decisions, something that not only the character experiences but the user also suffers when he reaches those points in which the episode insists that you take another option different from the one chosen or it only offers, with much irony, a single option. I finished my experience with the certainty that I will see the episode again and I will choose other options. A chapter that are a lot of chapters and that invites you to come back again and again. That is to say: objective more than fulfilled by part of Black Mirror and Netflix.