Twitch Plays Pokemon Takes the Internet by Storm


A popular saying goes “too many cooks spoil the broth,” but that statement is in serious question with the adventures of a video game streaming site and its latest craze that’s sweeping the Internet.

Twitch is hosting a unique event known as Twitch Plays Pokemon, where viewers of the stream can control a single game of Pokemon Red by typing in commands in the chat. The stream varies from 40,000 to over 100,000 viewers watching and sending commands for Pokemon trainer Red at one time.

Twitch Plays Pokemon provides nostalgia from the 1996 Pokemon game, chaos of thousands of viewers working together in a hive mind, and tons of running jokes as the stream progresses. The stream has intense dramatic moments, including the release of starter Pokemon Charmeleon named ABBBBBBK ) and Ratata JLVWNNOOO, also known as Abby and Jay Leno, and the worship of the Helix Fossil, which is quickly turning into a faux religion.

The creator of this operation, an Australian programmer who chooses to remain anonymous, uses an IRC bot that translates commands in the chat. The purpose of Twitch Plays Pokemon is unknown, but it is currently known as a social experiment.

Of course, there are challenges from so many people controlling Red, including it taking a full day to make it past a simple plant that requires Red to use the move, “cut,” and over one day to escape the maze in Celadon city. Despite all complications, players have managed to beat seven gym leaders and defeat Giovanni and Blue, as well as catching the legendary Pokemon Zapdos, progressing past the halfway point of the game in six days.

Twitch occasionally spices up the stream, with the newest development being the Democracy/Anarchy system. Players have the ability to change the chat system into a democracy – where commands get a certain number of votes before they’re used – or keep the game in its traditional anarchy form.

For an event that has lasted almost two weeks so far, the Internet has fallen into insanity – adding “Helix Fossil” with 7.2 billion followers to the world’s major religions on the Wikipedia page, and creating a gigantic community full of fan art, stories, and websites posting accomplishments that occur in the stream.  As an event that was created to see how viewers would react, Twitch Plays Pokemon has exceeded everyone’s expectations. No one knows what Twitch will have viewers accomplishing next.