Hey guys. I just want you to know that the P+FD release has nothing to do with the below but with life as a researching grad student.
But when I'm not doing the things I'm supposed to be doing—researching, writing, sleeping—I play Pokemon.
Who's this Pokemon?
|You don't know? Leave now. Trust me.|
It's Dratini! Cool, huh? He's the baby dragon type of gen. 1. That's Red, Blue, and Yellow Versions.
Most people played those games, and then a ton of people continued onto play Gold, Silver, and Crystal, the Pokemon games that make up generation 2. Some of them continued to play Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald. But not as many. I did. Then there was Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum. I played that. Then Black, White, and Black 2 and White 2, and I played those. Last year X and Y came out. And I'm playing that one too. I have favorites across all the generations, and I follow Smogon, a website full of people a thousand times more hardcore than me who rank and determine optimum stats and move sets for almost 650 Pokemon. I love it.
Anyway. None of this has anything to do with Twitch Plays Pokemon, which is not so much a video game as a fascinating social experiment.
An unnamed programmer in Australia uploaded a copy of Pokemon Red, that game from your childhood, onto Twitch, and then enabled the chat box to give Red (the Pokemon trainer) commands. That means if you had a Twitch account and typed up, Red would take a step up. A means a button, b means b button, etc.
In six days, this game has been played by as many as 70K people at a time. It's hive mind. It's insane. Chaotic. Like watching a train wreck in slow motion as Red is controlled by the crazy stream of commands of thousands of people.
|On loop. Except when we move. And do things.|
|After literally over 36 hours of struggling through the villain's maze, on his last Pokemon...|
But against all odds — and this project is toeing the monkey with a typewriter theory — Red has gotten a team and defeated four gym leaders. He has dropped almost all his items. He has released three Pokemon, included a Rattata named "JLVNOOOO" (called Jay Leno), a Charmeleon, and a Flareon (deemed child of a god of darkness meant to lead our quest astray.)
He has run into a million walls. He has saved 149 times in a row. There has been a Civil War amongst fans, attempts at strategy, the helix fossil has been selected so many times that new religions have arisen around it, and more memes generated than some randoms can dream of.
Millions of people all over the world are checking into this insanity and rooting for this ultimate underdog who is at the hands of literally everyone.
|A gamer with the ultimate multiple personality disorder.|
This evening, he defeated Giovanni in the Game Corner to shrieking and thunderous applause. I was making dinner. It was awesome. (I mean, we dug out of the HQ without grabbing the Silph Scope, but who's perfect? It only took us three more hours or so to get back inside.)
Anytime there's a victory of any kind, it's completely amazing.
70K people suck at playing Pokemon.
Anyway, I've been following this microcasm of civilization for the past three days. Not religiously. But passively. But invested. It's not like I have a Twitch account.
I've also been writing my Master's thesis, that thing that'll give me in a degree in something unrelated to Pokemon. (Well, not entirely, but we're not going there.) I have a presentation to give, as well as staying conscious and everything.
It's 4AM. I'm doing an awesome job.