When I was a child, I loved the Choose Your Own Adventure and Fighting Fantasy, where you got to pick your own path through the stories. Now, in 2017, Netflix is trying something similar with TV shows.
The video-streaming service is launching two “interactive branching narrative episodes” for children: Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale and Buddy Thunderstruck: The Maybe Pile. Both will let kids control the story.
Puss in Book is available now through Netflix on the TV, as well as its iOS app. Buddy Thunderstruck will follow on 14 July. A third, Stretch Armstrong: The Breakout, will make its debut in 2018.
“You sink into the sofa and fire up Netflix. You settle in to watch everyone’s favourite swashbuckling feline Puss in Boots. You chuckle as Puss in Boots finds himself in the story of Goldilocks with the Three Bears staring at him,” explained Netflix in a blog post.
“And then… you’re asked to make a choice: Should these bears be friends or foes? It’s actually your choice to make. Your adventure! You decide how the story proceeds and what Puss in Boots does next.”
It’s a fun idea, and one that should make the shows something children lean forward for, rather than just slumping back on the sofa (or wherever they’re watching Netflix).
Interactive stories aren’t a new thing, of course: from games to branching-narrative apps like Nosy Crow’s Red Riding Hood, children have been able to do this kind of thing for some time.
Still, doing it with what feel like ‘proper’ TV shows feels fresh and new, and I can also see it being a lot of fun for parents and children to watch and interact with together – even if it’s the kids who’ll inevitably have the final word on each choice!