Twitch Plays Pokémon is taking the Internet by storm


At the time of writing there are currently 57,305 players co-ordinating their efforts in Twitch Plays Pokémon, in what the streaming service is describing as a social experiment.

Playing through an emulated Game Boy version of Pokémon Red, all of those viewing is able to control the main character by typing keyphrases into the channel’s chat window. That’s done by entering one-time commands using the game’s original controls – up, down, left, right, A, B, start or select – which has lead to varying success. Although, that said, after five days players have already managed to tackle Gym Leaders, secure the S.S. Ticket, and even managed to trade Pokémon.

The phenomenon has surpassed 75,000 concurrent spectators and participants at its height, although its anonymous creator has reported that “considerable” input lag is hampering progression – meaning that it can take up to 40 seconds before a command will register in-game. As to whether they will be able to reach the game’s conclusion remains to be seen, or if enthusiasm will peter out before they can take on the Elite Four.

“This is one more example of how video games have become a platform for entertainment and creativity that extends WAY beyond the original intent of the game creator,” comments Twitch’s vice president of marketing, Matthew DiPietro.

“By merging a video game, live video and a participatory experience, the broadcaster has created an entertainment hybrid custom made for the Twitch community. This is a wonderful proof on concept that we hope to see more of in the future.”

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