The world of streaming was irrevocably changed in late 2018 when Netflix released the Bandersnatch episode of its now-exclusive Black Mirror series. This iconic episode featured a fully interactive storyline where viewers could choose their own adventure over and over again.
While interactive streaming content had existed in various forms before then, this was probably the most high-profile and critically successful debut of this type of content. Although it didn’t quite usher in the flood of interactive content that some pundits had predicted would follow, that doesn’t mean that fans of the format are starved for content. If you’re a fan of interactive streaming and live streaming experiences that put you in the driver’s seat, here are some of our top picks.
You vs Wild
Let’s dive in with another one of Netflix’s critically praised (although sorely forgotten about) shows, You vs Wild. This was a choose-your-own-adventure TV series starring none other than survivalist extraordinaire Bear Grylls. In this classic of the genre, you follow Bear Grylls through a variety of real-life survival situations, taking you through the forest, desert, tundra, jungle, and more.
At various junctures, you’ll be given the choice of which survival approach to take. Do you take shelter in a cave, or high up in a tree? Do you eat the frogspawn on the ground, or take your chances with spearfishing? If you guess wrong, you’ll be treated to a comically acted-out death scene by Bear Grylls.
Not all interactive streaming content is related to TV. One of the earliest and most worthwhile examples is the stream/video game experience Late Shift, available on PS4. Released in 2016, this was one of the earliest interactive streaming titles to get it right, one that truly put players in the shoes of the protagonist. The “game” took the format of a feature-length Hollywood film with real actors that the players could control, leading them through a variety of scenarios and endings.
You play the role of Matt, a recent college graduate who must prove his innocence after being forced to join the robbery of a posh London auction house. With 180 different choices and seven different endings, this is one of the most meticulously thought-out interactive games we’ve encountered.
Interactive Table Games
Sometimes the best thing about live streaming is how it can make classic entertainment feel fresh and new. There are many examples of this that are worth mentioning. One is Livestream board gaming platforms, which allow you to play all of your favourite board games with friends or with strangers via an interactive Livestream. Other than the many, many, board game channels on Twitch, there is also CardBoard.Live, which is working to bring the most immersive board game experiences to your laptop screen.
Another good example is poker, that 200-year-old card game that remains one of the most popular pastimes in the world. Several Livestream poker platforms allow you to interact with a real-life card dealer and other players via a video uplink. From here, you can click different buttons to play your cards and raise your wagers, all while playing for real money. This isn’t limited to just poker, and many other casino games have transitioned online too.
As Dead As It Gets
The mobile streaming platform Whatifi has made waves in recent months for its track record of providing interactive, “social viewing” content that allows multiple people in different locations to play the same interactive TV shows at the same time.
If you prefer your interactive streaming to be a multiplayer pursuit, then check out As Dead As It Gets, a horror series exclusive to What if in which you and your friends must interact with a series of ghosts in an old hotel in order to figure out the truth and escape. There are 16 different endings to this one, all of which depend on the choices that you and your friends make.
These are our favorite pieces of interactive streaming content that you can play today. Check them out if you’re the kind of person that likes to watch things more actively.