At the time of writing, Twitch Plays Pokemon has been running for just over four days. In that time, thousands of people collectively navigated through four gym leaders. But you wouldn’t know that if you spend just a few minutes watching the stream. It’s absolute chaos and it’s a miracle anything is accomplished.
This excerpt from the page explains how this whole thing works:
What is this?
TwitchPlaysPokemon is a social experiment, it is a stream of the Gameboy version of Pokemon Red (151 romhack) running on an emulator. An IRC bot translates buttons said in chat into keypresses (simulated in software, no fancy typist robots).
How do I play?
Say the button you want pushed in chat (a, b, start select, up, down, left, right), please be aware that there is considerable input lag (see below) and will take awhile before your inputs are registered.
Only one button per message is accepted, there’s no combos or holds.
Even with all the chaos, order pierces through and progress is made. Is it the will of the masses or just dumb luck that four gym leaders fell?
As amazing as the progress is, it’s the stories that people have conjured up to describe the events that have transpired that are most amusing to me. Sacred items and false prophets were named, civil wars have erupted in the Twitch chat over released Pokemon and discarded items.
This is the kind of dumb internet tomfoolery that I love most with games.