Choose-your-own-adventure entertainment is on the rise

Young people around the world increasingly prefer pop culture that is immersive over that which is passive, as addressed in our Global Culture Forecast. Not only are they taking an active role in entertainment by putting their own creative spin on content after it’s released, but they’re also giving rise to movies and TV shows that allow viewers to drive the story.


Netflix is expanding upon the choose-your-own-adventure style storytelling it currently offers with select children’s programming, including the TV shows Puss In Book and Buddy Thunderstruck, by bringing this capability to Black Mirror. In the upcoming fifth season of the hit series, which will debut later this year, viewers will get to choose their own storyline of one episode—an appropriate opportunity given that the show explores the social implications of technology. Netflix is also planning to offer more interactive programming in the future, which will undoubtedly further engage audiences who don’t see themselves as merely consumers, but rather, creators who regard content as building materials to tell their own tales.


For the forthcoming film Choose Your Own Adventure, 20th Century Fox is letting viewers do just that. The movie studio is partnering with interactive film company Kino Industries to license an app that will allow movie audiences to control the storyline and characters. Using their smartphones, viewers will be able to vote on what characters do at key points in the narrative, meaning the film can have a different plot, ending, and length depending on the choices of the audience, reflecting young people’s desire to have more control over the movie-going experience. As the film is based on the 1980s book series where readers choose the ending, it’s only fitting that this ability is also coming to the big screen.


Earlier this year, interactive TV startup Eko released an interactive adaptation of the 1983 Cold War thriller film WarGames. The modern version takes place across multiple windows on one’s device, with viewers able to hone in on any window to feel as if they are hackers watching multiple feeds on their own screen, thereby making them part of the narrative. This information is then aggregated to determine how the plot evolves. In particular, users alter the personality of the lead character Kelly, making her more or less serious based on their choices and impacting the pacing of the story.