Thursday, March 6, 2014

POKÉBLOG 2014 #1 TWITCH PLAYS & BEATS POKÉMON?!?





Twitch.tv / Twitch [twitch-tee-vee/twitch]
noun
1. Website. Spinning off from Justin.tv, the service is a live-streaming video platform focused on video game and e-ports.

It began on February 12th, 2014. A Twitch stream of Pokémon Red was initiated with a rather unique premise: the game was controlled, not by the streamer, but by the audience. The viewers could input commands by simply typing them into the chat. The game would take in all the commands simultaneously. And thus, Twitch plays Pokémon began the seemingly impossible quest to reach the Elite Four and become the Pokémon champion. They completed their quest on Day 17 after 391 hours of game-play.
The chaotic nature of this process made it seem an impossible experiment with no outcome but pain and frustration. Here is a short list of obstacles and issues that can arise:

1. Getting from point A to point B can be challenging. The most obvious hurdle is not walking around in circles, but simply going to the right place can be a struggle. An early struggle was getting Pokémon to learn HMs. Without cooperation, it would be difficult to teach a Pokémon the HM you need to get past a tree or rock or swim  and, more often than not, you wind up with a bunch of Pokémon with HMs like Cut and Strength.

The biggest hurdles, pun intended, can simply be avoiding ledges that can set you back. It is also easy to get lost, if you don't know where to go, in caves. Yet, they got through Safari Zone, which has to be completed in a set amount of time or you're sent back to the start, and has to be completed to get through certain sections of the game. How? We'll get to that after we discuss the other obstacles.

2. The biggest element of the game at risk are your Pokémon. Teaching their Pokémon new moves was a small hurdle, but with big consequences. After all, a Pokémon that knows Cuts, Growl, Sand Attack, and Mist is pretty useless. I'm amazed they managed to evolve their Pokémon. But these are small struggles...

...compared to putting Pokémon in the PC and withdrawing the ones you need to make progress without a ton of grinding. The problem the PC presents is that, through the PC, you can release your Pokémon into the wild to never be seen again (unless they randomly return). Much like Ash abandoning his best Pokémon, the team had several purges including Charmeleon, Farfetch'd, Rattata, and many other Pokémon that they fans had come to love. In the end, it is amazing that they managed to have a team at all including useful Pokémon like frickin' Zapdos, Lapras, Nidoking, Venemoth, Pidgeot (who was with them since the start) and Omanyte. The latter was part of the another type of obstacle.

3. Wasting time was the biggest threat to completion of the game. Every moment of the game is agony when it would be so easy to do the right thing and the game instead is directed to go to the item menu and attempt to use a key item. This led to several memes, but none more prevalent or funny than...

THE CHURCH OF HELIX!

Literal hours were wasted by the game being directed to look at the Helix Fossil, a key item that can be exchanged for an Omanyte on Cinnabar Island but is otherwise useless. Over time, the fans gave story reasons for things in the game and the core of the story was that Red was a cultist of the Church of Helix, a religion of chaos based around worshiping and consulting the Helix Fossil with the intention of releasing him to the world and fulfilling the prophecy of becoming the Pokémon champion.

The antagonistic premise to this goal was the Dome Fossil, which the fans decided represented order and democracy, and would lead to destruction. One event that was combined with it was the attempt of the players to evolve an Evee into anything but Flareon. Upon becoming Flareon, they forced into the PC as the false prophet.

There is so much more lore, but you can read that on Dorkly or watch it in one of the videos linked at the top.

The most controversial part of the experiment was when a new system was implemented: Anarchy/Democracy. The system allowed players to vote by entering Anarchy or Democracy. In Anarchy mode, the game used all commands at once, but in Democracy mode, the most entered commands were the ones that went through. This probably allowed for some of the more difficult sections of the game to get done and added a somewhat flawed but interesting extra dimension to this strange experiment in social gaming. Only time will tell how this experiment will effect of the future of live entertainment...

Until next time we have the memories.


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