"This sums up TwitchPlaysPokemon in one picture"

Gaming has always been a social event. Whether playing the classic split screen on the SNES or large multiplayer games over the internet, gaming has reinforced the idea that it's meant to be enjoyed with others; this latest situation has shown the ideology is here to stay.

TwitchPlaysPokémon is a Twitch.tv channel that has captivated the internet this past weekend. The channel launched a social experiment stream by playing Pokémon Red through an emulator. However, a unique twist was added. The game is in fact controlled by the channel’s chat — using an IRC (Internet Relay Chat) bot, the game is played based on the commands of the viewers.

Users can enter the basic Game Boy commands (Up, Down, Left, Right, A, B, Start, Select) into the chat feed and control Red on the screen. However, due to the popularity of the stream an input lag of nearly 30 seconds occurs before you command is applied.

At the time of writing the stream has been going for more than four days and sixteen hours and over 60,000 viewers are currently watching and/or participating. So far, the group has been able to conquer the first four gyms and is en route to the Team Rocket Headquarters. The current team consists of an Oddish, Rattata, Flareon, Drowzee, and Farfetch’d.

Due to the surge of interest, the stream has overtaken swathes of the internet gaming community. Various memes have arisen due to the nature of the event and some of the hardships that come with such a large group. The process of teaching a Pokémon cut and getting to Erika’s gym took hours. The Helix Fossil has become the icon for the series, as it is one of the few remaining items in the trainer’s possession. As the image above shows, some funny moments have arisen from the stream.

Hopefully this experiment will allow for similar events in the future. Although not much progress has been made compared to the time elapsed, it is an enjoyable experience for viewers none the less.

Have you been watching the stream? Are you enjoying it? Let us know in the comments. In the particular case of this writer the stream has been playing constantly on in the background, awaiting the next funny or productive moment.

To check out the stream, follow the link below. Also, a link to a regularly updated page containing the current status of the playthrough can also be found.

[source twitch.tv, via docs.google.com, eurogamer.net]