The Miraculous Progress Of ‘Twitch Plays Pokémon’

The Miraculous Progress Of ‘Twitch Plays Pokémon’

It has been nearly five days since Twitch Plays Pokemon, a stream that lets users collectively control a Pokémon game via chat commands, started broadcasting to the world. Since then, the stream has had over 60 thousand people watching and playing at once — as you might expect, it’s been a chaotic, awe-inspiring ride so far. And while progress has been made, things have gotten a little… strange.

Before we get into some of the many jokes, fan-art and Tweets made about the stream, let’s recap on what’s happened thus far, shall we? A helpful Google Doc has been set up that monitors progress — you should bookmark it, since it may be hard to stay on top of progress given that sometimes it takes hours to perform simple tasks. As of this writing, however, Twitch Plays Pokemon has acquired four badges, and the team line-up has featured an Oddish, a Rattata, a Flareon, a Drowzee, a Farfetched, and a Pigeot. If you’ve been watching, you know how amazing all of that information is — it’s a wonder the collective players on Twitch is making any progress at all.

You can watch it live here, if you want:

Those playing might chalk all their good fortune to one thing: the Helix Fossil. Amusingly, because of the delay between when users say something in chat and when it actually happens on-screen, it became easy to accidentally select the wrong things on menus. As a result, the character seems to compulsively check his item bag — specifically, he keeps trying to select the Helix fossil. You can’t do anything with the Helix fossil until you bring it to Cinnabar Island in the games, at which point you can use it to revive Omanyte, an ancient fossil Pokemon. Still, the player “consults” the Helix fossil so much that people joke around about it as if it was a holy deity which the player uses for guidance, and that the real point of the entire thing isn’t to beat the Elite Four, but rather to revive the old god, Omanyte. This is especially important when you consider how difficult some stuff has been — notably, there have been two big ORDEALS.

At one point, the players on Twitch had to go through an area of the map with many ledges, causing players to troll and press “down” so that the character jumped over the ledge instead of moving forward. Apparently it took hours to get past every ledge. At another point, a tree stood in the way — and similarly, it took ours to cut a tree down and move forward. The arduous nature of these things makes it easy to see why the Helix fossil became such a thing: it’s like Twitch players need a higher power to move forward. And so, lots of fan art and Photoshops have been devoted to the Helix fossil and the ordeals players have faced — like the leading GIF in this post, which is actually a part of this video by NostalgiaLongLost:

There is more, of course.

(Via purplemew)

Just a bit of #twitchplayspokemon fanart. If you haven’t checked it out, it’s hilarious. xD

— Tara (@taraofforest) February 16, 2014

#twitchplayspokemon summed up in a picture.

— ダニエル (@depxaf) February 17, 2014

A chart of our progress so far. #TwitchPlaysPokemon

— TwitchPlaysPokemon (@TwitchPokemon) February 17, 2014

(Via cyprien1337)

(Via sycamon)

THE HELIX FOSSIL HAS SPOKEN TO US! #twitchplayspokemon

— Kori (@korigaming) February 17, 2014

@Twitch_Pokemon So I made this in honour of the stream. PRAISE IT!

— Lord Sevein (@LordSevein) February 17, 2014

(Via Muffywithlove — the joke here is that it took Twitch like six hours to cut down a single tree at one point in the game.)


— 《❀『ℳorinya』❀》 (@PerfectNocturne) February 17, 2014

(Via ilgen)

At least one person — gibblegabs — has set up a real life shrine to the Helix fossil.

Meanwhile, superhighschoolevelweenie is consulting the Helix fossil in real life:

(Via Crimgans)

(Via andalizard)

(Via theartofbadwords)

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I’ll spend the first four sharpening the axe. Or prance around obeying the of voices in my head.

— Holy Helix Fossil (@HolyHelixFossil) February 17, 2014

(Via The Dutch Slayer — click to expand!)

You can even ask the Helix Fossil for guidance yourself here.

Unfortunately, at some point in the game the players on Twitch actually stored the Helix fossil in the in-game’s PC — meaning, they still technically have it, but it’s not actually in the inventory that you can access at any time. This means its more likely that the player consults the SS Anne ticket, another key item which can be found in the same menu where the Helix fossil once resided. It, too is being treated as a kind of holy item.

The Helix fossil is not the only thing that was lost along the way. A Rattata nicknamed “Jay Leno” and a Charmeleon nicknamed “Abby” were also released into the wild, sadly. Here’s the GIF that captured the sad moment (click it to expand, if you’d like) — note that Jay Leno and Abby aren’t the Pokemon’s actual names, since it would be impossible to have the coordination to nickname any Pokemon something coherent. Jay Leno and Abby are just what the gibberish they were actually nicknamed most sounds like.

As sad as this is, its what the Helix fossil willed, obviously.


— Questie Gandor (@JustOneQuestie) February 17, 2014

(Source unknown)

Depositing Abby and Jay Leno has resulted in an interesting team, though…

(Via r/twitchplayspokemon)

Another amusing thing that’s happened is that Twitch managed to evolve the Eevee into a Flareon — one problem, though. They needed it to be a Vapereon, as that’s a Pokemon that can learn the move “surf” — a move they’ll need later in the game. They did manage to coordinate enough to go to the store and buy an evolution stone to transform Eevee, but they didn’t have it together enough to pick the right thing. As a result, a lot of the jokes refer to Eevee as an evil force that led players on Twitch astray. If the Helix fossil is the saviour , Eevee is the false shepard.

Some even blame the release of Jay Leno and Abby to Eevee/Flareon — and that it’s only a matter of time before Flareon destroys everything.

(Via speedcoremigraine)

(Via r/twitchplayspokemon)

Heh. All of this is kind of weird, sure, but damn if its not fascinating too.

We’ll make sure to keep you updated where the Helix fossil takes players on Twitch next.


    • I forgot that it’s necessary to go through safari zone to get HMs you need to finish the game. Oh man, that’s… that’s terrible.

      • Hey, they managed to get this far after 100 hours. I’m sure they can make it.

        Honestly, if you asked me my thoughts on this experiment before it started I would have told you that they wouldn’t have gotten out of Pallet Town.

        • The problem with the safari zone is the step counter. It’s not easy to get to the HM (I think it’s surf?) even if you know the way and aren’t accidentally wasting half your steps by being pulled in the wrong direction by errant commands.

          They’ll get there eventually, but there’s going to be a lot of failed attempts as well.

          • Doesn’t safari zone cost money also?
            Has anyone considered the possibility that all (accessible) trainers are defeated and Red still runs out of cash before reaching the Surf HM?

          • the stream owner has said he might have to play through the safari zone if it gets too out of hand but he isn’t sure he wants to yet, in the spirit of the experiment and because they have gotten this far already.

  • This is infuriating. They’ve been stuck in a maze for the past two hours… and they never even needed to go there. They have escaped on at least five occasions (that I’ve seen, actual number may be far greater), made progress towards the elevator key… and then gone back to that stupid maze. This is not so much “infinite monkeys on infinite typewriters” (as some have quoted) as it is a 75k-way tug of war. I’m amazed they’ve got anywhere, tbh, let alone four badges.

    • Just remember, they needed to teach a pokemon cut, then use it on a tree, then trigger 2 switches in the electric gym. That alone is something amazing.

  • I watched a bit on the weekend, and it was glorious. And I’m amazed at the jokes and art that have sprung up around this.

    Might have to check in in a few days’ time and see how things are going.

  • All hail Helix and his chosen one lord Pidgeot! May their guidance shield us away from the Dome’s evil and onwards to the land of Victory.

    Yeah.. I may or may have gotten sucked into the atmosphere haha.

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