In an attack on the basic tenets of logic and sanity, the Internet phenomenon Twitch Plays Pokémon (TPP) has come to the most unlikely of conclusions: they actually beat the game.
As a recap, TPP was a social experiment designed on streaming site Twitch where viewers could input button commands via the chat box to play an emulated version of the ‘90s classic Pokemon Red. It quickly exploded in popularity and became a viral hit, pulling in up to nearly 120,000 simultaneous active users, all playing the same game at the same time. It was beautiful, majestic chaos.
And they did it. Mid-morning British time, on the 16th continuous day of the stream, the rag-tag band of eclectically christened beasts and the roving army of maniacs controlling them actually managed to put down the entirety of the Elite Four and everyone’s favourite super-douche Blue.
Have you ever heard of the ‘infinite monkey’ theorem? It’s this idea which argues that given an infinite amount of time a hypothetical chimpanzee sat at a hypothetical type-writer will word-for-word re-produce a Shakespearean text. It’s one of those fluffy ideas gentleboys in top hats discuss over cognac… it’s also been brought into alarmingly accurate life by the TPP social experiment.
It’s legitimately difficult to overstate how overwhelmingly impressive/insane the entire ride has been. Finishing up with over 30 million views and re-defining massively multiplayer gaming, TPP became so much more than a simple play through of a video game. An entire living, breathing community developed around this madhouse of an experiment, popping up across every social network (including a huge Reddit community) and generating page after page of fan-art (check out the cover image) dedicated to the stream’s elaborately crafted narrative, historical and cultural backstory.
Religions were created (a lot of them) in minute, eerily illuminating detail and the basic foundations of society were explored in fascinating fashion through the ‘anarchy and democracy’ gamestyle divide. Many people may shake their heads, muttering about how pathetic nerds are etc. etc., but TPP is a bona fide social phenomenon, make no doubt about it.
Far too much happened – far too many highs (catching Zapdos…) and crushing lows (…the resulting Bloody Sunday massacre) – to hope to discuss in one article (check out a summary here). But bottom line, TPP was an utterly remarkable event that will live long in the memory. And I would not be surprised in the slightest if it becomes the subject of academic interest in the near future.
Oh, and by ‘detailed religions’ I mean goddamned detailed religions. Check out this infographic from reddit user aseanman27 below. Praise Helix:
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