Thousands Of People Are Playing A Single Game Of Pokémon Together

Thousands Of People Are Playing A Single Game of Pokémon Together

Being a Pokémon master takes time and patience — beating a game in the franchise usually takes at least a couple dozen of hours. Now imagine trying to beat a Pokémon game while thousands of other people also control your avatar.

Now imagine that these thousands of people will do whatever they want to your avatar, as they may not even care if you beat the game at all.

If it sounds like madness, it kind of is. As of this writing, there are nearly seven thousand people watching a Pokémon stream of the original games, Red and Blue (it's not clear which one it is). Here's where it gets interesting: someone has set the emulator such that it takes inputs from the chat on the side of the Twitch stream. The game only seems to recognises the four D-Pad directions, A, B, Start and Select. The stream is called "Twitch Plays Pokemon," and so far, it's glorious. Here's a chunk of footage from last night, though you can also watch it live here.

Watch live video from TwitchPlaysPokemon on TwitchTV

If you've ever watched a well-populated stream on Twitch before, you know how fast the chat on the side can move — it can be impossible to read what anyone is saying. Despite that inevitable chaos, the game takes all the inputs in real time, as you can see in the footage — what this means in practice is that the game progresses as if the main character was drunk and confused. It's rather amusing.

Progresses is the key word here: sure, playing Pokémon via Twitch chat means that there is a massive lack of coordination, resulting in situations where it may take minutes for a character to walk through one measly door. Still, Twitch chat is doing it. At the moment, they're trying their best to get past the Cerulean City gym, which is requiring them to grind a little together. Meaning somehow, at some point, they beat the first gym together (Cerulean is the second gym in the original games). I know — watching, it may seem baffling as to how Twitch chat has managed that, given that it has spent the last dozen hours trying to beat said gym and given that some people are clearly interested in trolling the game. But it has! The wonders of the internet never cease.

I wonder how long it'll take them to beat the whole game? You can watch Twitch's progress here.

(Top image via Wario64)


    this is the stupidest thing iv seen all year (still early yet)
    i watched 15 minutes of the stream, and he is just walking around in circles because too many commands are being given

    Last edited 16/02/14 10:42 am

      It is a great concept, but there are just too many people on there at once and as usual, the trolls have screwed things over a bit.

        yeh, i completely agree with you,
        I reckon i private version of this just to play with friends would be pretty cool

        Thats true, but isn't that part of (or perhaps even the point of) the challenge?

    Here is a Google doc that is document the progress and key milestones of this.

    I'm watching the player getting his arse whooped by weedles and rattattas.

    Nice idea, bad execution D: Perhaps if it took all the inputs from over a second, and picked the most popular input and used that, people could play it in a group. All it takes is one tard pressing start/select and its all over.

      I was watching live when someone actually managed to pull that off. The nerd rage was hilarious.
      Luckily (unfortunately?) the mods had a save state, so they took it offline briefly and restored it.

      Last edited 17/02/14 2:33 pm

    i find it interesting to jump on just to see how far they've managed to get. Can't spend more than 5 minutes watching it though. (almost 22k people on there atm)

    So much naysaying. It's amazing that they've gotten anywhere at all, let alone as far as they have.

      They are actually making progress, and that is exciting. Cant wait until they beat the Elite Four and set some kind of pokemon world record for most attempts to use a Moonstone and SS Ticket on a pokemon ever recorded.

    This is painful to watch.. Some people just want to watch the world burn!!

    It's actually a ROM Hack of pokemon red, allowing people to get all 151 pokemon if they wish.

    Last edited 19/02/14 1:35 pm

    Just saw the best comment flash by "Welcome to purgatory" best description ever.

    People are taking this thing so seriously, like it's some sort of research project that will totally affect the way we play games.

    I just thought it was just a bit of fun.

    Patricia, did you even read about it on the twitch page!? It clearly says its Pokemon Red. Please post accurate details in your poorly written articles.

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