Twitch Plays Pokemon is easily one of the most popular games on the internet today, attracting thousands of players an hour. For those who haven’t heard of it, this game is an emulation of the 1998 GameBoy hit Pokemon Red that can be played on Twitch TV. The unique twist is that you are playing along with over 50,000 other gamers at the same time. It leads to what can only be described as organized chaos as thousands of people are trying to direct the character around the screen.
The gameplay is very simple. Type in the button you want pushed in the chat (A, B, Up, Down, Left, Right, Select, or Start) and wait. One one button per post is allowed. Be patient, as there’s a little bit of lag from all the players typing in commands at once. There are so many players typing at once that Twitch had to switch the game over to a server dedicated to major events.
There are two modes to this game: democracy and anarchy. In anarchy mode, everyone’s actions are done immediately. In democracy mode, the gamers have twenty seconds to type a command. The command that shows up the most is played.
Hopefully that will help make sense of the chaos of Twitch Plays Pokemon. The game will be up and running until it is won. If you consider all the people playing at once, one would think that it would be a challenge to do the simplest task. But the gamers are making progress, slowly but surely.
Twitch Plays Pokemon is one of the first of its kind. The programmer created the game to test to see if this sort of gameplay was viable. While it is not known if it is viable, it really is fun watching gamers play it out. It becomes a struggle to get the character to walk through a door or even open up a submenu. Strangely it never degrades into chaos where people are hitting random buttons. Everyone playing it is dedicated to the task of beating the game. It’s just that there are 50,000 people with 50,000 ideas of how to do it.
That’s what makes it fun to watch.