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Black Mirror’s Bandersnatch: A Discussion

Read this article or not, it’s your decision 😉

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If you’re into watching movies and TV shows about science fiction, chances are you’ve already heard of or seen the show Black Mirror and its latest episode/movie/game called Bandersnatch. It’s available to stream on Netflix and watching it gives the audience a unique experience in a way that doesn’t follow a linear way of storytelling.

Instead, it gives you the power to choose (using your TV’s remote control, laptop, or smartphone) and decide what happens next in the story. In short, there are many directions the narrative can branch out to and every choice affects what will happen later on.

It’s not the first time a story has been told in this approach, but the implementation in an online streaming service and how the events unfold throughout the episode goes beyond the norm in so many levels. If you’ve seen Bandersnatch, we’re sure there’s a lot you want to talk about. And so do we! This article is a discussion on what we liked and didn’t like.

Of course, there will be spoilers throughout. If you haven’t seen the episode, you may stop reading and watch it first. Or you can just continue on and join in on the fun. All up to you. It’s not like someone from the future is controlling your decisions, right?

Were there any expectations before watching Black Mirror‘s Bandersnatch?

Dan: I have to admit that I was hyped for Bandersnatch. It became sort of a tradition for me to binge watch a new season Black Mirror during the holidays. So, when the news broke about an interactive Black Mirror film, I had high expectations. I expected it to be more complex, but I think it was just enough.

Rodneil: When I played the first three hours of the PlayStation 4 exclusive Detroit: Become Human,my initial thought was that it felt like binging a Netflix series with more involvement from you as the audience. In that regard, I expected Bandersnatch to feel like a game, and it did.

Kevin: I expected it to be a dark, heavy episode since it’s what Black Mirror excels at. As for the interactive experience, I’ve recently tried out Netflix’s Minecraft Story Mode and had a taste of how the system works so I already had an idea of how things will go.

What was your first ending?

Dan: I took the initial offer immediately… It wasn’t done in good judgment. 👀

Rodneil: Same with Dan, haha. My gut said to not take the offer but logically, it felt like a reasonable option. After choosing this “wrong path,” I followed my gut the rest of the way.

Kevin: I took the prescription pills prescribed by my shrink (I’d like to think I’m obedient that way) instead of flushing them down the toilet which resulted in getting a 2/5 stars rating of my game. I went for a different timeline, of course, and corrected that.

Did you make good decisions throughout the story?

Dan: Not really. Instead of thoroughly thinking about which option I choose, I always had the thought that I can repeat and amend a mistake. Also, I thought of it as a video game wherein I have to make sure I explore everything before jumping to the next level.

Kevin: I didn’t want to “shout at dad” let alone “kill dad.” So those decisions led me to a dead end. Then I remembered this is Black Mirror and it probably wanted me to go for a darker path. It did, haha!

Rodneil: I’m not sure about good but I did go with what I thought was the smarter or weirder option.

Do you think your decisions reflect your personality?

Dan: It should. Although, I think I wasn’t properly watching it the first time, so my first choices should not be counted.

Rodneil: For the second ending I got, I would say it did. My usual approach in choose-your-adventure games is to not think too much about my choices and just go with my gut.

Kevin: It did. And as I said earlier, some of those choices led me to a dead end. Others made things more interesting like taking on the therapist Street Fighter style. That was fun to watch.

What was your favorite part from the episode?

Dan: I’d say my favorite part was one of the proper endings where the young Stefan went with her Mommy and they got into the train accident. It was just a flashback, but it affected the current timeline of adult Stefan and he died while sitting on a chair inside his doctor’s office. Being part of the Black Mirror franchise, I find this ending to be the best as it embraces the series’ suspenseful and dark atmosphere.

Kevin: There were actually a lot for me. The conspiracy theories Colin delivered while they were tripping on LSD was so convincing thanks to his acting.

The path where you choose to explain Netflix to Stefan, for me, was just so surreal since I could imagine myself telling someone from the 80s that I’m controlling a fictional character on a TV show. I bet hearing that from someone from the future would totally sound insane — and for us living in the present, it is the reality.

Also, that part when Stefan says something about making the audience think they have free will to choose but in reality, it’s still Stefan giving the scenarios and where they’re heading. It pretty much applies to us, too, thinking we have control over the entire episode when there’s actually a flowchart of things that dictate what we can and cannot do.

Lastly, I’d say I was blown away by how meta the episode can become. One ending goes to follow Colin’s daughter who is now adapting Bandersnatch for Netflix. We see her planning the choices for the actual episode and we’re given one last time to dictate what she does next. Eventually, she destroys her computer which then makes the show nonexistent. Brilliant.

Rodneil: Man, I agree with everything Kevin listed. I enjoyed Colin’s entire “free will” monologue and how meta it was when you’re asked to explain Netflix to Stefan.

Is there anything that you didn’t like about the story or experience?

Dan: As I have mentioned earlier, I was expecting a more in-depth viewer involvement. There were decisions made by the protagonist that I wished I was given the chance to choose. Also, it was not the strongest Black Mirror story. But, overall, Bandersnatch is a showcase of online entertainment. It may not be the most original, but the concept was put to good use.

Rodneil: Nothing in particular. I wasn’t expecting much coming into it. In fact, I didn’t expect the story to be good at all, but after watching, I thought it was a perfect first offering for this kind of format.

Kevin: Dan and I share the same sentiments on the episode not having the strongest story. I mentioned that I expected something heavy before watching it and though some of the endings were indeed dark, it’s not Black-Mirror-Season-One-Episode-One dark that will leave you dumbfounded by the end. I understand that they concentrated more on the interactive part and they did a fantastic job in its entirety.

Will this interactive technology change or affect how we watch movies and TV series in the future?

Dan: A big yes. Like with interactive books, however, it’s not for everyone and it’s not applicable to all titles. I’d love to see a couple of interactive films on Netflix every now and then, especially on the big screen. The genre of Black Mirror is perfect for interactive content, and maybe some other horror or suspense stories. Stretching this out to a series will take a lot of resources, but it’ll be grand.

Rodneil: It will change in that I think other streaming channels and even platforms like YouTube and Facebook will try to integrate this feature. It might be one way to curb piracy. I imagine it will be extremely hard to duplicate this experience. If more good titles make use of this interactive kind of viewing then more people might be enticed to actually pay for streaming services. We’re a long way away from that but this is definitely a step in the right direction.

Kevin: Of course. It has that element that you’re responsible for what happens to the character — whether something good happens to them or you get them killed. It has a different, more personal impact. Also, what Dan and Rodneil said.

Entertainment

There’s a real Super Mario movie coming with Chris Pratt

Coming next year

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Earlier today, Nintendo hosted its Nintendo Direct presentation for the month of September. As expected, the presentation teased a barrage of amazing titles coming for the holiday season. However, amid the new titles, Nintendo also announced a stranger title that didn’t fit in with the rest: an upcoming Super Mario movie.

If you grew up in the 90s, you might be familiar with the old Super Mario Bros. Super Show, a live-action adaptation of the iconic gaming franchise, and a more controversial movie. Though it was watchable fare for kids, the series never made an impact especially compared to the original games. Some people even view it with ironic appreciation. Undoubtedly, the new announcement is raising its fair share of eyebrows all over the world.

Nintendo has not shared any plot details or a trailer for the film yet. However, we do know that it will be an animated film from Illumination Entertainment, the same studio who made the Despicable Me series. It will also feature all the familiar characters from the franchise.

Marvel actor Chris Pratt will voice the titular plumber. Opposite him, Anya Taylor-Joy will voice Princess Peach. Charlie Day will voice Mario’s brother, Luigi. Jack Black voices the franchise’s villain, Bowser. Keegan-Michael Key makes an appearance as Toad. Finally, Seth Rogen is Donkey Kong.

The upcoming film is set for a 2022 launch.

SEE ALSO: Sealed Super Mario Bros. from 1985 auctioned for $660K

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Lifestyle

Google released its own potato chips

This isn’t the in-house chip we were expecting

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If, for some reason, you thought Google meant potato chips when they said they were launching their first in-house chips, then we have good news for you. Google has truly launched its own bag of potato chips.

Well, obviously, Google isn’t transitioning to the food market just yet. The company released the official bag of chips to promote its actual in-house chip, the upcoming Google Tensor chipset. Google is set to launch the flagship processor later this year. The chipset will officially debut for the Pixel 6 series, a flagship series that Google has been hyping up for month.

Unfortunately, the potato chip is only set for a limited run. Only 10,000 bags have been made for now. And they’re all sold out. As somewhat of a silver lining, Google also released a quirky video showing how the Pixel 6 works as a smartphone with the bag of chips as a stand-in.

Google offered the free bags for those in Japan. They’re designed much like how the Pixel 6 will look like. To promote Android 12’s focus on customization, users were also able to attach their own names to the bag through a customizable badge. Though the bag comes in five different colors, the potato chips come in only one flavor: Googley Salty Flavor.

Google has not confirmed whether they are making more bags for the future. However, the Pixel 6 series and the Tensor chipset are both coming sometime in the last quarter of the year.

SEE ALSO: Google’s Tensor might just be an Exynos in disguise

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Kindle launches larger Kindle Paperwhite models

And a more premium Signature Edition

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Love them or hate them, Kindles have successfully affected the world of reading. Amazon’s reading devices have made reading more convenient when we can’t bring dozens of books with us, especially as we travel. As such, Amazon keeps updating its Kindle lineup. Recently, the company has once again released a new series of Kindle Paperwhite models.

Compared to the standard fare of Kindles, the Kindle Paperwhite series thrive on its unique set of features. The lineup sports a reading light to help readers get through the night without a lot of light.

With the recent update, the new Kindle Paperwhite has increased its reading area to an expansive 6.8-inch display with smaller bezels. The display is also much clearer, putting out content at 300dpi. To make things even better, the series offers warm light and dark mode options. The more premium Kindle Signature Edition also sports an automatic light sensor which adjusts the backlight depending on your surroundings.

In terms of battery power, the new Kindle Paperwhites can last for a whopping 10 weeks on a single charge. Plus, the Signature Edition is the first one of the series to support Qi wireless charging.

The new Kindle Paperwhite offers 8GB of internal storage and will sell for US$ 139.99. Meanwhile, the Signature Edition has 32GB of internal storage and will retail for US$ 189.99. Both devices are up for pre-orders and will come with a free four-month subscription of Kindle Unlimited.

Besides the two devices, Kindle is also launching a family-friendly Kindle Paperwhite for Kids. The device has a kid-friendly design and will come with a free year of Amazon Kids+. It retails for US$ 159.99.

SEE ALSO: Spotify is now adding free audiobooks

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