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“Twitch Plays Pokemon” is a social experiment that was launched by an anonymous Australian programmer on February 12. The goal is for online players to collectively play through an original GameBoy classic, Pokemon Red.
According to International Business Times, the game reached unexpected popularity with more than 14 million views and 80,000 active players.
Through a chat room, players type in directional commands (left, right, up, and down) in addition to “A,” “B,” “Start” and “Select.” These commands are entered into the game and they control what the character, Red, is doing in real time. To make the game go faster, the creator recently added “anarchy” and “democracy” modes that can also be typed into the chat. The anarchy mode is the original format where the inputs of gamers are immediately applied. The democracy mode is based on votes, with the most popular command being applied every 20 seconds. To switch from one mode to the other, the inactive mode needs 75 percent of the votes.
Although very chaotic, as Red often spends time walking into walls and going backwards or in circles, there has been progress made. Since launch, four gym leaders have been defeated, and 14 Pokemon have been collected. Six Pokemon that were owned by Red, including “ABBBBBBK” the Charmeleon, and “JLVWNNOOO,” also known as Jay Leno the Rattata, were released into the wild, while a Spearow was traded for a Farfetch'd known as "Dux."
There have been some challenging moments, with the most recent being the Team Rocket Hideout, where it took players 36 hours to complete the maze and defeat Giovanni, notes Dorkly.
The game has become very popular on social media as well, producing memes, fan art, and jokes. One of the running jokes involves the Helix Fossil, an item that isn’t needed until later in the game. The item was continuously selected accidentally so much that it has become referred to as a deity that needs to be “consulted” for guidance. Another joke began when the group was attempting to evolve an Eevee into a Vaporeon with a Water Stone in order to teach it Surf (a way for the player to travel across water). Instead, a Fire Stone was bought and the Eevee was transformed into Flareon, becoming known as “false prophet” and servant to the Dome Fossil, an item that the group views as Satan. Flareon went on to suffer the same fate as ABBBBBBK, JLVWNNOOO and the others, and was also released.
According to a Google Document that is keeping track of game progress, the current goal is to reach the top of the Pokemon Tower.
To play along or watch the action, visit Twitch.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons