Twitch Plays Pokémon is a cultural phenomenon that started quietly but has since gained significant traction amongst online gaming communities. The idea was remarkably simple: stream a live version of the original Pokémon Red, which is controlled via a parser that translates the text of the chat channel into in-game commands. It’s as chaotic as it sounds, and as brilliant as you can imagine.
While much of the 16 days spent the game was spent spinning around in circles and consulting certain fossil-like objects, the game eventually ended in victory for the plus minus 1.1 million watchers who tuned in over the course of the playthrough and has spawned a rather hilarious mythos involving Bird Jesus, the All Terrain Venomoth, conflicting religions around anarchy mode (the chat mode where every command is taken as gospel.) and democracy mode (where viewers enter commands and the one with the most votes is initiated 20 seconds later) and a host of other memes.
Now, the channel has moved on to the next game, Pokémon Crystal, which is an updated and improved version of the second generation of Pokémon games, Pokémon Gold and Pokémon Silver. The channel has also instituted a new voting system whereby democracy is instituted every hour, and users can vote to get anarchy reinstated.
While the original playthrough started slowly with a few watchers, as of writing the game is being watched live by over 50,000 viewers and has achieved over 40 million views. I’ve embedded the Twitch channel live stream below, because I know what you’ve always been missing in your life is incessant FM synthesized bleeps and bloops.