In Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, Colin Ritman claims that choice is an illusion. He states that while one choice is being made in one reality, a different choice is being made in another. In a way, he is right. One viewer will make one choice, and another viewer will make a different choice. The same goes for video games. While a lot of today’s games offer little in terms of choice, there are some out there that give the players more of a choice – even if sometimes it’s just the illusion of choice. Here are 10 “choose your adventure” games to play if you liked Black Mirror: Bandersnatch.
10. Colossal Cave Adventure (1975)
The one that started it all. Colossal Cave Adventure is the first known work of interactive fiction and, as the first text adventure game, is considered the precursor for the adventure game genre. It’s so pivotal to the genre as a whole that it’s even referenced in Bandersnatch by TuckerSoft CEO Mohan Thakur when he says, “What, you mean like ‘Get Lamp’?” during Stefan’s pitch.
In the game, the player controls a character through simple text commands to explore a cave rumored to be filled with wealth. Players earn predetermined points for acquiring treasure and escaping the cave alive, with the goal being to earn the maximum number of points offered.
9. Far Cry 4 (2014)
This one is a bit tricky. For many players, an open word setting like this means doing whatever you want. So when the main villain of the game captures you and tells you to “wait here”, most players will try to escape (and succeed). At the end of the game, there are four endings, based on some choices made near the end. However, if the player actually does what he’s told and waits, it opens a secret ending that makes a 30+ hour game only about 15 minutes. The choice is yours.
8. Mass Effect 1-3 (2007-2012)
Many players saw that Bioware failed to deliver on their promise, but the Mass Effect series remains the only series in which choices made in one game carry over to its sequels. The trilogy largely revolves around a soldier named Commander Shepard, whose mission is to save the galaxy from a race of powerful mechanical beings known as the Reapers and their agents. Criticism came at the climax of the final installment when players felt all their choices meant nothing. It’s a classic case of hype leading to unreasonable expectations that could also be read as the same commentary Colin makes in Bandersnatch: choices don’t matter – the results can be the same.
7. Deus Ex: Invisible War (2003)
Taking place 20 years after its predecessor, Deus Ex: Invisible War follows a scenario where the first game’s events led to a period of war and economic depression which resulted in several factions attaining power and influence across the world. The player controls Alex D, as they are evacuated from Chicago to Seattle following a terrorist attack, soon becoming embroiled in a network of plots as the world’s factions fight for control of the world. Every mission has multiple methods of completion as well as four very distinct endings. For better or worse, you can choose either ending regardless of choices made previously in the game.
6. Fallout: New Vegas (2010)
Arguably the best entry in the Fallout series, Fallout: New Vegas gives players an open world to play in and a solid main quest to complete (or not). Players take control of a character known as the Courier. While transporting a package across the Mojave Desert to the city of New Vegas, the Courier is ambushed, robbed of the package, shot in the head, and left for dead. After surviving, the Courier begins a journey to find their would-be killer and recover the package, makes friends and enemies among various factions, and ultimately becomes caught up in a conflict that determines who will control New Vegas and the Mojave Wasteland.
5. The Stanley Parable (2013)
Easily the weirdest game on this list, The Stanley Parable allows the player to guide Stanley through a surreal environment while the narrator, voiced by British actor Kevan Brighting, delivers exposition. The player has the opportunity to make numerous decisions on which paths to take, and because at times the narrator says what Stanley will do next, the player can choose to ignore the narration and make a different choice. Every choice made by the player is commented on by the narrator, and depending on the choices the player makes, they will encounter different endings to the game before it restarts. The game features no combat or action of any kind.
4. Chrono Trigger (1995)
Way ahead of its time, and frequency cited as one of the best games of all time, Chrono Trigger follows a group of adventurers who travel through time to prevent a global catastrophe. An unprecedented 13 possible endings, with one ending having 5 variations, this game was the RPG benchmark for years to come.
3. Silent Hill 2 (2001)
While not a direct sequel to the first Silent Hill game, Silent Hill 2 centers on James Sunderland, who enters the town after receiving a letter apparently written by his deceased wife, saying she is waiting for him in Silent Hill. Joined by Maria, who strongly resembles her, he searches for her and discovers the truth about her death. This game features three main endings that aren’t clearly linked to choices, but tied to how you played the game. It also features three “joke” endings that you can only unlock after beating the game at least once.
2. The Walking Dead: The Game – Season 1-4 (2012-2019)
This sprawling epic from Telltale Games follows the events of the graphic novels and TV show of the same name. Spanning multiple episodes in each season, the player makes dialogue choices and decisions that have fatal and long-lasting consequences across the entire series. The series also features “quick-time” events where certain control prompts must be matched or the player will die and be forced to try again.
1. Heavy Rain (2010)
The game features four playable protagonists involved with the mystery of the Origami Killer, a serial killer who uses extended periods of rainfall to drown his victims. The player interacts with the game by performing actions highlighted on screen related to motions on the controller, and in some cases, performing a series of quick time events. The player’s decisions and actions during the game affect the narrative; the main characters can be killed, and certain actions may lead to alternative scenes and endings. Each playable character has multiple endings, with 17 in total players will spend a long time with this game if they wish to experience it all.