We recently got a question about Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, which is an interactive film, i.e. one where you can yourself influence the progression of the story with your own decisions. This presents us with kind of a unique situation, since I don't think we had a question about such a "film" before.
It is a difficult to define crossover between a classic non-interactive film and a full-on videogame, which makes it difficult to find a general solution for how to deal with questions about these things:
- It is published on Netflix and tells a story through the medium of film with known actors and has been reviewed by film critics. It seems to be treated largely like a film by the general public.
- Yet, it has the interactive characteristics of a videogame (and at least Wikipedia calls interactive films exactly that). It makes you yourself influence the story in an indvidual style and in ways impossible to do in a story told to you completely by someone else.
There are traps to easily fall into when trying to find a closed solution to the scope decision here:
- On the one hand the "film"'s story is still told by a writer with every path filmed (and with everyone treating it largely like a film) and our site's means for analysing plot structure and themes can still apply very well.
- On the other hand, "normal" videogames have writers and story progression too. So how much interactivity is too much to make a work off-topic? Or does it have to be filmed with "genuine" actors? What about every single Pixar film then? Does is have to be published on a film streaming service? Or is it a multitude of factors playing together?
So maybe a clear yes/no to interactive films isn't all too easy and we should strive for a decision more based on the question itself, similar to how we handle the "story" aspects of wrestling but not the sport aspects?
Still, this might make decisions difficult and the question that sparked this discussion actually makes for a good example. While it is asking about the story and how it can have a happy ending, it is still very much worded like a "how to win this game?" question and thus seems to concentrate more on the "game mechanics" than the story. But this might very well just be a poor wording choice and fixable by working on the question a little more.
So I'd like to encourage some discussion on how to deal with questions on interactive films here. We don't necessarily need to reach a clear consensus on the entirety of the genre (especially since that's hard to define), but I'd like to at least hear some input on the various problems I touched on above (and maybe even more problems that make a decision even harder ;-)).
We can sure use the example question to show problems and/or solutions of the scope discussion, but I'd encourage discussion on why the question is on/off-topic or how it can be made on-topic rather than just a plain close/reopen-vote without talking about the deeper issue of interactive films.