Over 60k people watching Twitch play Pokemon [UPDATE]

"Twitch Plays Pokemon" lets you input text-based commands to play Pokemon Red/Blue.

UPDATE: 2/17/14 11:30AM PST

Three days after it started, the Twitch Plays Pokemon stream is only getting stronger. Against seeminly impossible odds, the stream now has four badges under their belt, and over 70,000 people are currently watching. Even if just a relatively conservative 10% of those people are actively taking part in the chat, that's still 6k people trying to lead Red on his journey to become a Pokemon Master.

Responding to the the surprise success of the stream, Twitch's VP of marketing Matthew DiPietro wrote the following in a message to GameSpot, "This is one more example of how video games have become a platform for entertainment and creativity that extends WAY beyond the original intent of the game creator. By merging a video game, live video and a participatory experience, the broadcaster has created an entertainment hybrid custom made for the Twitch community. This is a wonderful proof on concept that we hope to see more of in the future."

The broadcaster chooses to remain anonymous, but he did share how the channel works. "I wrote a script in Python that listens for buttons said in chat and simulates a keypress for the corresponding button in the emulator. The script also outputs button presses to a locally-hosted website which provides the overlay. I use Open Broadcaster Software to merge the website and emulator output into a video feed that gets sent off to Twitch.

"SaltyBet incited my interest of automated Twitch streams with a heavy focus on viewer interaction. I thought that a collaborative attempt to complete a game would be entertaining to watch and participate in. Pokemon seemed like a natural choice due to its lack of reaction-demanding gameplay and very forgiving difficulty. When making it I didn't know if anyone would be interested, it was intended more as a proof-of-concept.

"I didn't have any expectations of how people would interact with the stream, but I was very curious. I thought most people would play around with it for a few minutes and leave but it's very engrossing to a surprising amount of people. I never planned on this many viewers/players so I'm glad that it's holding up as well as it is."

The original story appears below.

Here's a neat way to spend Valentine's Day if you're all alone (or just because you want to). Over on video streaming site Twitch right now you can take part in a crazy cool concept called "Twitch Plays Pokemon."

An intelligently designed emulator allows viewers to input text commands like A, B, Start, and Select, which in turn control what happens in Pokemon Red/Blue. The video has been live for nearly 48 hours and viewers have, miraculously, already beaten the first gym and have a level 23 Pidgeotto.

There are currently more than 7,000 viewers on "Twitch Plays Pokemon," and the chat is ablaze with commands. It's a wonder to see in action, and simply proves that there are even more ways to enjoy 15-year-old video games.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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Discussion

154 comments
Sevenizz
Sevenizz

The more important story here is that 60k people watch Twitch.

hyksiu
hyksiu

Gotta watch em all!

nyran125tk
nyran125tk

60'000 very bored and very strange strange people.

07wintert
07wintert

what a load of crap why don't people just play fire red or soul silver then waste there time with this.  

kevindm215
kevindm215

whats the deal with the anarchy/democracy thing?

profilia
profilia moderator

Twitch Plays Super Mario Bros. is just sad to watch. 20 hours and over 6k deaths so far. They'll never make it to 1-2. x_x

greebe55
greebe55

funny watching these guys trying to rename their pokemon

terrariafan247
terrariafan247

ALL HAIL THE MAGIC HELIX FOSSIL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Halloll
Halloll

imagine trying to go about your life while you are possessed by 60 thousand demons, that's what that stream look like.

DoomSky
DoomSky

How the heck did they get pidgeot? Are you telling me not a single troll tried to cancel the evolution? 

ExtremePhobia
ExtremePhobia

I've gone to watch this on three different occasions. The only thing I can liken it to is a train wreck. You just can't stop. You can't look away. You're just in awe of what man has created.

Slagar
Slagar

This is amazing, and far too entertaining. The best thing I've seen on Twitch.

nightcall14
nightcall14

It's super annoying the way trolls are constantly opening and closing the start menu.

WehrmachtBear
WehrmachtBear

They were stuck in the lift switching floors for about an hour.

CyberLips
CyberLips

I'm just here for the music. :3

normanislost
normanislost

woah the new movement system could actually make this possible....its just going to take even longer

Tigerbite2
Tigerbite2

So, 20 hours later and they're still in the game corner puzzle.  LOL

grbolivar
grbolivar

Infinite monkey theorem: monkeys hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type a given text, such as the complete works of William Shakespeare.

Maybe they can too finish a Pokémon game...

DarkSaber2k
DarkSaber2k

10 people watched me play Mass Effect 3 last night. Can I have an article?

trugs26
trugs26

This is awesome, amazing and hilarious.

zzz802
zzz802

How about Twitch Plays Call of Duty?

02pheland
02pheland

"the broadcaster has created an entertainment hybrid custom made for the Twitch community"
Endless trolling and hours of wasted time going in circles, yep sounds exactly like any twitch chat ive ever seen.

troll_eat_troll
troll_eat_troll

It's funny watching people playing it but makes me wonder how sad are these people, don't these people have better games to play but I'm guessing these people are PS4 and XB1 owners.

terrariafan247
terrariafan247

I tried playing for a half hour or so and they are stuck in a maze. I only briefly saw it by I saw they had an Oddish, a Flareon and a Pidgeotto. Finally all the trolls keep going left into the wall and they keep pressing start; sometimes releasing and throwing away things.

Jasurim
Jasurim

 Oh god the poor souls.  I checked this in the morning, went to work, came back and they're still stuck in that same building.  XD

DAOWAce
DAOWAce

I'd have loved to see this when it started, but now it's just ridiculous.

Skulker87
Skulker87

@kevindm215 It's a voting system that's been implemented. When the stream is in anarchy mode, it's a free for all and the game just takes the latest input that it sees when it looks for one. In democracy mode, people vote for the next input in between inputs.

Primeyuri
Primeyuri

@DoomSky  there is a delay. Trolls would be too late to cancel it. 

jesot
jesot

@nightcall14  It was hilarious when they got the text speed changed to slow, though.


joke_man
joke_man

@grbolivar  

Except it might and, given the odds likely would, take hundreds of millions of years.  Shakespeare did Shakespeare in a lifetime...

korvus
korvus moderator

@DarkSaber2k  Depends; were half of them pressing "start" nonstop?

terrariafan247
terrariafan247

@troll_eat_troll  It's a little ironic how you call people sad when you're trolling about PS4 and Xbox One. :P

korvus
korvus moderator

@Jasurim  They're still in the same room as yesterday XD

kitty
kitty moderator moderator

@Jasurim rofl, I can only imagine how long it will take to get out, let alone beat the game XD

kitty
kitty moderator moderator

@Sanligo @profilialmao That might be the game that literally takes until the end of time to beat. :P

joke_man
joke_man

@grbolivar @joke_man  


Oh, I get what you're saying...I'm just saying it begins to lose its relevance when you actually extrapolate what you're saying...