Free will is an elaborate fiction and our decisions have no meaning—but if you so choose, you can now build your own Bandersnatch-style choose-your-own-adventure game.
In an appropriately meta twist, a redditor named TheColinRitman announced that he had built a tool that turns Reddit threads into free-standing web games. As he explains in an accompanying Medium post, the mechanics are pretty simple.
First, you start a thread in the Bandersnatch subreddit. You copy and paste some code to set up your game’s introduction, filling in the blanks with an image, some explanatory text, and the first set of choices the player will encounter. Then, in subsequent posts, you copy and paste some more code and fill in some more blanks to dictate what will happen when the player makes each choice—and you fill in more posts to determine what will happen when the player makes those choices. An open-source computer program built by TheColinRitman reads your thread and spits out the game.
You can check out the first (and so far, only) game made using this tool here. (Be warned: it follows the plot of Bandersnatch and contains spoilers.) And if you want to take a look under the hood, or contribute to the project yourself, you can see the Reddit thread that generated the game here.
TheColinRitman told Quartz that in real life, he’s a 36-year-old software engineer, though he did not reveal his name or location. He built the game engine on a lark last Saturday while his wife and kids were off visiting his mother, he said. But in its first five days, he hasn’t gotten the response he wanted. “My hope was that the community would pick it up and build a cool story and game,” he wrote. “But that didn’t happen. No one used it. So I decided to pivot.”
He said he plans now to collaborate with two other redditors to build a Bandersnatch-inspired game for iOS and Android. “This is the first time I’ve been a part of a remote and anonymous team like this,” he wrote. “I think it holds a lot of promise. My real life friends haven’t even seen Bandersnatch yet and there’s no way they’d be as excited about this as these new internet friends.”
In the meantime, the tool he created is still live, and anyone can use it.
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