m. c. de marco: To invent new life and new civilizations...

A Cosmic Epilogue

In Part I, I covered the fictional, meta-choicemaps shown in Bandersnatch. In Part II, I covered some of the earlier and more popular actual maps of the show as played (and frequently mapped) by the viewers. In Part III, I surveyed the later and less noted maps of the show, in roughly chronological order. Here as an epilogue I tack on the map to end all maps:

educational portion of Bandersnatch choicemap by Vladimir Panteleev closeup educational portion of Bandersnatch choicemap by Vladimir Panteleev

In an enterprise he calls datamining but that sounds a lot like decompiling, Vladimir Panteleev has derived the One True Choicemap of Bandersnatch from the Netflix files themselves. The map style itself is not novel (yet another flowchart, with a questionable representation of variables as nodes), but the semi-automated effort led to some interesting problems of scale not faced by previous choicemappers.

The existential horror of the process and its redundancies is hidden behind links to massive images of earlier versions of the map. Here’s a chunk of the initial “disaster” layout, plus a tiny piece of the already partially “optimized” version:

educational portion of Bandersnatch choicemap, disaster version, by Vladimir Panteleev educational portion of Bandersnatch choicemap, partially optimized version, by Vladimir Panteleev

The data is also available in non-map formats. The summary deserves a read; it reveals unreachable nodes, unused variable and unreachable variable states, other bugs, and what looks like an abandoned or test interface for revisiting choices. This moves the choicemap from a superficial accounting of how the story plays out into a twilight realm of what the authors intended to write.

I’ve added links to this Bandersnatch subseries to my History of Choice Mapping, along with another timely choicemap from this year (for the board game version of House of Danger). I have high hopes for more choice fiction in these “new” media (streaming TV, board games, etc.), and more choicemaps to come.