Black Mirror: Bandersnatch dipped into the nostalgia many who lived through the 1980s have for a format of books called “Choose Your Own Adventure”. While the movie was certainly innovative, the format was nothing new as anyone who read those books remembers.
One of the best aspects of the movie was the reintroduction of that format to the people who experienced it decades earlier, but it also introduced the concept of “Choose Your Own Adventure” to a new generation. As it happens, there are tons of video games that embraced the format long before Black Mirror: Bandersnatch came along, and these ten are the best of them all.
10 UNTIL DAWN
Until Dawn is a disturbingly bloody and gory horror game that centers around the player’s choices, which directly correlate to who survives the night. The game is set in a remote cabin where a group of teenagers is holed up for the night. As the player makes their way through the story, they are presented with various choices that direct the gameplay.
The right choice in one instance might see multiple people escape the horror while the wrong choice in another part of the story might result in everyone’s death. The game has a short enough playthrough that it’s fun to replay the game to see if you can’t get different people out each and every time you play it.
9 HER STORY
While most games in the “Choose Your Own Adventure” format follow a character as they progress through a story making choices, Her Story is a bit different. Play works by listening to interviews of a murder suspect from an old police computer. The choices come into play regarding how you listen to those tapes.
Depending on the search terms you use, and how well you pay attention to the dialogue, the story will unfold in different ways. Ultimately, this will result in a harrowing tale with strange and shocking twists that will differ each time you play the game depending entirely on the choices you make throughout.
8 THE STANLEY PARABLE
The Stanley Parable plays much like Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, but it also shares some similarities to earlier text-based games like Zork in that much of the decision-making involves determining where you go and what you do when you get there.
The game features narration that helps direct the player to choose between one or more actions that ultimately drive the story. As it comes to a conclusion, the players can find themselves in one of the many hilarious endings to the game, which almost demands multiple playthroughs just to see how it could have gone with different choices.
7 THE WOLF AMONG US
Telltale Games’ The Wolf Among Us follows the company’s familiar format of a graphics-intensive “Choose Your Own Adventure”, but with a twist. The game is a combination of a fantasy-noir adventure story, which breaks the genre and helps to redefine it with its rich story and beautiful graphics.
From small choices that seem to have little consequence to larger decisions that clearly define how the story unfolds, players are faced with both to help instruct how the story plays out. This is a game where the decisions definitely matter, and because there are so many, no single playthrough will be the same as any other.
6 HEAVY RAIN
Heavy Rain is a great “Choose Your Own Adventure” game for the PS4 that centers around trying to find and stop a killer. The Origami Killer is on the loose, and it’s up to the player to find out exactly who is carrying out the deadly tromp through the city.
Gameplay features an ability to make choices via dialogue interactions with different characters. As the player proceeds through the game, saying the right thing might help to find the killer while saying the wrong words could end up getting someone else killed making this game incredibly reliant on dialogue choices more than anything else.
5 REIGNS: HER MAJESTY
For anyone who has ever used dating apps like Tinder, this may be the ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ game for you! In Reigns: Her Majesty, players are given the option to make decisions by either swiping left or right, but those decisions have an impact on how the game develops.
Each time you make a swipe from one side to the other, your kingdom’s subjects will carry out tasks and help you to build a and improve your gameplay. Your decisions based on their wishes will help to build your dynasty making this a fun, yet simple game that follows the format.
4 STORIES UNTOLD
Stories Untold combines many of the elements familiar to the Choose Your Own Adventure game format. Taking elements from text-based adventure, puzzle solving, and first-person exploration games, this episodic horror fuses them all within a 1980s technology themed adventure.
The game takes place in England back in 1986 (Pretty close to Bandersnatch there), and features four episodes. Making the right choice will determine how everything plays out as the player determines exactly what kind of story they want to play. Each episode starts out as a single game of sorts until they all come together in the end to form a cohesive tale.
3 LIFE IS STRANGE
Life Is Strange is one of those genre-defining games that helped to refine the “Choose Your Own Adventure“ format into a new format of gaming. The game follows the story of a teenager who can rewind time to make new decisions different than the ones made previously.
This is done to try and uncover the secrets that have plagued her coastal town in Oregon. There are tons of mystery elements spread throughout the game, which help to make the decisions the player makes differ each time they play through Life Is Strange as they build to the inevitable twist fans of Bandersnatch are sure to love.
2 THE WALKING DEAD: SEASON ONE
Building from the hit comic book and television series, Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead: Season One tells its own unique story within the series’ popular premise. This game features the levels of suspense you would expect from a zombie horror title, but it gets intense as you progress through the game.
Each decision you make determines how the story will unfold, but it’s not as simple as choosing one path or another. Many decisions will directly result in whether or not the people around you live or die, which makes this one of the most harrowing and intense games in the “Choose Your Own Adventure” format.
Undertale is a unique sort of game on this list because while it does follow a “Choose Your Own Adventure” format, it does so in a way that is entirely different from the other games listed here. Instead of making decisions based on dialogue or pathways, the story changes based on your interaction with enemies.
When you find an enemy, you are given the option to either fight or befriend them. Whatever your decision, the gameplay will unfold differently, and it could go on to be a lovely tale or end in a more darker one similar to the way many viewers came to the end of Bandersnatch.
NEXT: 15 Shocking Things You Didn’t Know About Undertale
Jonathan H. Kantor