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A Black Mirror (2011) interactive film, in which the viewer chooses the plot direction multiple times. Although the listed running time is 90 minutes, this is approximate, depending how long the viewer decides to keep watching: most people can finish the story in one sitting of around 40 minutes, but this can be extended with 'do-overs', where an option is given to return to an earlier point in the story and make another choice. About 2.5 hours of footage divided into 250 segments was shot for the episode, with over a trillion unique permutations of the story (though many of those will be very similar). The total amount of footage included to make all of the film's possible variations work is 5 hours 12 minutes 13 seconds, as revealed by the film's BBFC classification.
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Although Colin has an interesting theory for the origin of the name Pac Man, the game was originally called Puck Man. This name was revised when the makers realized that the side of the arcade machine could easily be vandalized to turn "Puck Man" to "Fuck Man".
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The actor portraying Jerome F. Davies is Jeff Minter, who himself is actually a famous 8-bit video game designer and programmer who created several successful games in the 1980s for the ZX Spectrum (among others), which is a computer prominently featured in the movie.
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The 'fax' sounds you hear at the end of Bandersnatch on Stefan's headphone translates to a QR code. That leads you to a website where you will find one of the games shown in the movie. In fact, these sounds are the actual loading tones of a ZX Spectrum program. The sequence of a carrier tone followed by a data tone is repeated twice; the first to load the BASIC program, the second to load the machine code to display the QR code.
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In Colin's apartment there is a poster for Philip K. Dick's 'Ubik': a sci-fi story that deals with themes of free will and death much like Bandersnatch.
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The fictional company Tuckersoft is heavily based on Imagine Software, who had a similar stance with high-profile, big-earning programmers, dedicated teams for graphics and sound etc. Imagine went bust and wound up in the High Court on 9th July 1984 - the day that Bandersnatch begins.
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Bandersnatch was a real-life video game project that was being developed by Imagine Software in the 1980s. It was one of two "Megagames" that they proposed to launch - Bandersnatch was aimed for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum computer whilst Psyclapse was due to be launched on the Commodore 64. Bandersnatch in particular was claimed to be the most innovative and advanced home computer title ever created, bringing new levels of interaction to the platform. However, the game got canceled in the wake of Imagine's bankruptcy, although the rights were eventually obtained by Psygnosis Ltd., and several of its concept finally made their way into their 1985 game 'Brataccas'. With its interactivity and theme, this episode can be seen as a 'real world' version of what Imagine were trying to create in 1984.
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When Stefan explains that his game doesn't require typing, Thakur says "No 'get lamp'?". This is a nod to the 1975 computer game "Colossal Cave Adventure", where the first useful command you must type in the game is "get lamp". ("Get Lamp" was also the title of a 2010 documentary about interactive fiction, a genre that includes "Bandersnatch" itself.)
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Some of the Black Mirror Easter eggs in the movie are Black Mirror episode titles, misspelled. The game titles METL HEDD and Nohzdyve, refer to Metalhead and Nosedive respectively.
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A poster that reads "METL HEDD" with a dog-like figure can be seen, a reference to the Black Mirror episode Black Mirror: Metalhead (2017), in which a woman is chased by robotic dogs after the unexplained collapse of human society.
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The word Bandersnatch was invented by Lewis Carroll in his 1872 novel "Through the Looking Glass".
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Near the start of the movie, as Stefan listens to either the Thompson Twins or to Now 2 while travelling in the bus, a billboard outside the bus saying 'Matey' on it has a graffito of the glyph from White Bear and the words NO FUTURE next to it.
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In Stefan's room there is a poster of the ZX Spectrum game Deus Ex Machina, a philosophical game about living the same life over and over again.
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The computer briefly seen in Colin's flat is a DK'Tronics keyboard. This was released in 1983 as a custom add-on for the ZX Spectrum, which required partially disassembling the computer to fit it. On top of the TV are the exact parts that would need to be removed to fit this - the keyboard membrane and the top cover.
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The premise of the film (i.e. allowing the viewer to choose a desired storyline) is similar to the "Choose Your Own Adventure" book series. Chooseco, which publishes the book series, sued Netflix for $25 million for tarnishing its brand.
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The fork glyph is the same as that which appears in Black Mirror: White Bear (2013).
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There is a Valdack's Revenge poster hanging in Stefan's bedroom. This is a reference to Billy Magnussen's character from Black Mirror: USS Callister (2017) )
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Stefan is listening to Relax when he wakes up. The next song he hears on Now II is Here Comes The Rain Again. Here Comes The Rain is the song directly before Relax on Now II. In the alternate path, the second song heard is "Hold Me Now" by The Thompson Twins, off the album Into The Gap. This song is also on Now II.
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The video game company Tuckersoft might be the beginning works of TCKR Systems which creates the San Junipero world in Black Mirror: San Junipero.
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At one point in the film, the therapist's first initial is shown to be "R," making her "R. Haynes." This could be a reference to Rolo Haynes, the owner of the Black Museum in the season 4 finale "Black Museum." Although, it could also be a coincidence.
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The psychiatrist Stefan sees is at the Saint Juniper's Medical Practice. This is a reference to season 3 of Black Mirror with an episode titled San Junipero.
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When the sound chip on the Commodore is mentioned, this is true. The SID chip (Sound Interface Device) was superior to other systems at the time.
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In the beginning of the movie a character named Colin Ritman programs what appears to be ZX Spectrum home computer. This is possibly an homage to legendary Spectrum game programmer Jon Ritman.
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The cassette player Stefan uses is the Sony TPS-L2, the first in the Walkman series. The headphones have been restored with the orange foam.
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Just before Stefan is introduced to Colin Ritman, Mohan Tucker says Hudson and Imagine. Both are names of actual Software houses in the early 80s. The fictional company of Tuckersoft is based on Hudsonsoft, while the operation of the company and indeed the game Bandersnatch are attributed to Imagine.
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Pax, the name of the monster, is Latin for "peace".
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The cover of the Crash magazine being read by Colin Ritman was a one-off, created by artist Oliver Frey, who painted the cover of almost every single issue of Crash during its lifetime.
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One of the keyboards in Colin's flat is a Model D Minimoog. Tangerine Dream, who feature in the soundtrack, used Moog synthesizers extensively on their albums.
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A cover from Power, Corruption and Lies designed by Peter Saville from New Order second album published in 1983 can be seen in Colin's apartment.
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In Colin's apartment, when he is offering drugs to Stefan, there is a large print of an image of Tokyo exploding from the Akira manga by Katsuhiro Otomo on the wall behind Colin.
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Owner of Tuckersoft, Mohan Thakur, uses Cockney rhyming slang when Stef is first pitching the game to Mohan and Colin- When Mohan asks Stefan about making the game "on your Tod", it's short for "On your Tod Sloan", rhyming slang meaning "on your own". Tod Sloan was a famous jockey from London's East End. (Australian rhyming slang uses "Pat Malone" in the same way, referencing the folk song "Paddy Malone")
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The Tuckersoft logo resembles the one of Sega, an actual video game developer.
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The name of Tuckersoft is presumably a pun on the name of its leader, Thakur, whose Indian surname is pronounced just like Tucker.
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In Colin's flat, Stefan is reading The Young Ones; Bachelor Boys paperback book.
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In the alternate pathways, Colin is either reading Crash Magazine (devoted to Spectrum gaming) or 2000 AD.
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There are many different endings, although many of those are 'Game Over' scenarios where the story reaches a dead end, and the viewer is brought back to an earlier point to make another choice. There are 5 categories of 'real' endings. 1) DEATH: Stefan leaves with his mother on the train and they die in the crash. 2) JAIL: Stefan is imprisoned for killing his father. 3) FIGHT: Stefan battles his therapist and father during a session. 4) SET: Stefan jumps out a window and realizes he is being filmed. 5) LOOP: history repeats itself and Stefan's game is rated 5/5 on television. Some of these endings come with further variations. For example, the "jail" ending is preceded by different TV reports depending on how many people Stefan killed.
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The cereal you choose at the beginning of Bandersnatch will be the advert that plays briefly before you watch the Jerome F. Davies documentary tape Colin recorded for Stefan to watch.
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The father foreshadows the "bury" choice early on (right after the cereal choice) when he gets upset about the neighbours' dog digging up his garden, and says "he'll be the death of us". Indeed, if you decide to bury the father's body after killing him, and tell Thakur that the game will be done by the end of the day, the dog will dig up the father, leading to Stefan's arrest.
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Pearl Ritman appears as a baby in 1984, where her father (Colin) calls her "daddy's little legacy". Indeed, when she reappears as a game designer in the present day (during the final credits), she is carrying on her father's legacy by making video games.
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When you finish with 5/5 stars for Bandersnatch, the news report from fictional UK News station UKN has a ticker along the bottom of the screen. The following is displayed: Former PM Michael Callow wins Celebrity Bake Off. (from Black Mirror: The National Anthem (2011) ) Granular to unveil prototype "Pollinator Drone". (from Black Mirror: Hated in the Nation (2016) ) Liam Monroe enters Buckingham Palace. ( from "The Waldo Moment") UK Police test groundbreaking memory recall device. (from Black Mirror: Crocodile (2017) ) Cast of "Space Fleet" reunite at Emmys. (from Black Mirror: USS Callister (2017) )
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The game Colin is working on (Nozedyve) consists of a character constantly falling down out an apartment window. This is a foreshadowing to one of the alternates in the episode where Colin himself jumps out of the window.
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One ending has a newspaper headline that reads "Programmer confesses as dad found in 8-bits". This is a pun on 8-bit video game technology, which is what was available in the 1980's.
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When Stefan's father drives him to the psychiatrist (after pretending they were going to have lunch at a pub), we hear the XTC song "Making Plans for Nigel", including the words "We're only making plans for Nigel / We only want what's best for him". This reflects Stefan's situation in the scene, as his father is deciding what's best for him by tricking him into a therapy session. It also reflects Stefan's status as a pawn of the viewer; the viewer makes plans for him.
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Bandersnatch echoes the film Donnie Darko (2001) in many ways. Both are stories set in the 80s about young men trying to cope with whether they have free will or can control their future. Therapy sessions figure into both. Both featuring liquid mirror images. Both characters have bunnies central to their stories. Both stories involve (only if the correct choices are made, in the case of Bandersnatch) the protagonist making a decision to kill themselves in the past in order to prevent future trauma.
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At one possible point in the movie, Colin explains Stefan that the video game Pac-Man (1980) is related to mind control (PAC standing for Program And Control). There is an illustration called "The Madness of Mission 6" by designer Travis Pitt that shows a "human" Pac-Man as a desperate astronaut trapped on a doomed spacecraft, wolfing down anti-anxiety pills while his dead shipmates haunt his feverish mind. This is similar to what Stefan has to go through in the movie.
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In the 5/5 Ending on the News Reel, it states 'Senate Committee Grills Smithereen CEO Billy Bauer over Russian Bots. This is a nod to the future Season 5 episode 'Smithereens' technology and CEO.
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Bandersnatch (2018) is set in 1984. Depending on the chosen pathways, the episode reveals that Stefan is 19 years old in 1984, meaning he would have been born in 1965. This means that, depending on the chosen pathways, Stefan would be 53 years old by the release of the episode (2018).
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