Steven Spielberg’s 1997 video game “Director’s Chair” has been rebooted and reimagined as a choose-your-own-adventure experience courtesy of game creator and Carnegie-Mellon University lecturer Paolo Pedercini (via NME). The simulation video game was originally created to help aspiring directors get an inside look at the filmmaking process. As Vice explains: “Spielberg teaches you how to direct a feature film. Working with Spielberg, the player would work through problems on set and piece together a story from footage Spielberg shot himself.”
The “Director’s Chair” video game was mostly a bomb, but it did feature a bonkers performance from Quentin Tarantino as part of the pre-recorded footage the player and Spielberg (appearing in the game as himself) would shoot and assemble during the game. That bonkers Tarantino performance is front and center in Pedercini’s reimagined “Director’s Chair,” which takes all of the pre-recorded film clips from the original game and organizes them into a choose-your-own-adventure narrative. The rebooted game is similar to watching Netflix’s “Black Mirror” movie “Bandersnatch.”
“All these limited choices had film coverage to support them, so buried in the CD-ROM there was enough footage to make a ‘Bandersnatch’-style Choose Your Own Movie,” Pedercini wrote on Twitter about his version of “Director’s Chair.” “By the way the footage was totally raw, I had to edit all the clips, add sounds and music. I also upscaled the ultra low res videos with an AI-tool. Very stupid project, I don’t recommend.”
As users “play” the reimagined “Director’s Chair” game, they are forced to make decisions about the narrative that include whether or not Tarantino remains calm or goes manic (you obviously want to choose the latter). Another choice is to make Tarantino crack jokes. The footage used from the original game also features Jennifer Aniston and Penn & Teller.
To say one has to watch Tarantino’s performance in “Director’s Chair” in order to believe it would be an understatement. As Computer Gaming World (via Vice) noted about Tarantino in a review of the game at the time of its release: “Why Quentin Tarantino was chosen as one of the ‘actors’ for this game is a mystery…a superb writer and promising director, Tarantino’s idiosyncratic style rarely comes across properly in his acting…At times, he’s downright painful to watch.”
Play the choose-your-own-adventure “Director’s Chair” game over on Pedercini’s website.
Steven Spielberg’s Director’s Choices
An interactive movie made with bootlegged footage from a terrible ’90s CD-ROM.
— Paolo Pedercini (@molleindustria) August 8, 2020