The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary's & Holy Cross. Learn about us.



‘Twitch plays Pokémon’ continues

| Tuesday, March 4, 2014

WEB_Banner_Pokemon2Emily Hoffmann
On this past Saturday morning at approximately 3 a.m., after 16 days, seven hours, 45 minutes and 30 seconds of continuous playing, over 100,000 people came together to beat “Twitch Plays Pokémon,” a live, Internet-based game of Nintendo’s “Pokémon Red” on videogame-streaming website Twitch.TV. The popular game was streamed live on the site and viewers contributed to the play by inputting commands into the stream’s chat. The game ended when players united to defeat Pokémon Champion Blue after 22 attempts in a tale of passion, pain and downright insanity.

This game was special because of the sheer chaotic nature of it. It was designed to use the stream’s chat box to carry out commands but any sense of control the players had over the game was lost thanks to a consistent 20-second lag. This lapse between input and action resulted in some very unfortunate, yet hilarious events. For example, on the infamous day known as ‘Bloody Sunday’ to the stream’s loyal fanbase, the in-game character managed to accidentally release 12 Pokémon. The streamers were in shock but still they managed to progress toward victory. At another point, as the character made his way to the final Pokémon gym, the players were unable to get him to enter. Instead, he repeatedly tripped over a one-way ledge for several hours.

The subculture that developed over the course of the game was absolutely incredible. Viewers have established a backstory for all of the Pokémon in the player’s party and a mythology that rivals that of the game’s original story. The “Helix Fossil” item, and later the Pokémon “Lord Helix,” that the viewers consulted constantly became a sort of god, worshipped by those that supported the game’s initial “Anarchy” mode. The team’s Flareon Pokémon became the symbolic “False Prophet” of the unused “Dome Fossil.” The “Democratic” mode, once activated through a voting system, allowed the viewers to vote on every move the character made. This mode was viewed unfavorably by most of the fanbase and was used as little as possible, except for when the character was stuck in a labyrinth.

As impossible as it may have seemed to get anywhere in a social experiment so ridiculous, players managed to overcome the barriers and their differences, developing and communicating strategies on social media websites such as Reddit.com and Tumblr.

These strategies came to good use over the course of the last few days of the game and the triumphant victory over the Pokémon Champion. The viewers worked together to strengthen their team by repeatedly battling against weak Pokémon for what then seemed to be an endless amount of time. When the player finally reached the final boss fights of the Elite Four and the Pokémon Champion, they struggled for a long time, until they eventually beat the Dragon Master, Lance, the last of the Elite Four and by far the most difficult opponent. In a battle that viewers swore would be remembered for all time, the players’ Venomoth, a very weak venomous moth ¾get it? Veno-moth? ¾ Pokémon and the last surviving member of the team, slowly poisoned Lance’s last Dragonite, the most powerful dragon in the game. The Venomoth endured through sheer luck. From then forth, the Venomoth was hailed as the “Dragon Slayer.” Despite his skill against dragons, Venomoth was quickly defeated by Blue (the Pokémon League Champion). On the final attempt against Blue, the player’s Zapdos, the electric bird Pokémon streamers lovingly called “Battery Jesus,” quickly swept through all of Blue’s Pokémon, despite the incessant random attempts to run from the battle.

On Sunday, the Twitch channel began a stream of “Pokémon Crystal,” a sequel to the original “Pokémon Red” released in 2001. Although it may not have the uniqueness of the original game stream, fans are still eager to win. The game is currently almost two days in and the stream channel has over 42,000,000 hits between both games.

The “Twitch Plays Pokemon” stream can be viewed at http://www.twitch.tv/twitchplayspokemon

Tags: , ,

About Jimmy Kemper

Scene writer, Economics major, and Seinfeld enthusiast

Contact Jimmy