Analyzing Twitch Plays Pokémon and the Effect on Society

Discussion in 'General Gaming Discussion' started by Ryukouki, Mar 2, 2014.

?

Praise Lord Helix?

  1. What about Flareon?

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  2. Bird Jesus all the way!

    78.6%
  1. Ryukouki
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    Ryukouki See you later, guys.

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    Wow, unbelievable. It's a special week with a second article! A social experiment that began two weeks ago has ended early today, with Pokémon Trainer Red having done what some considered to be impossible: defeating the Champion and becoming the League Champion. The journey may have ended, but a new one may be beginning anew shortly. Let's go in and talk about what made this journey so special, and how a social experiment changed the video gaming landscape to become one of the biggest gaming moments in 2014.​
    I quote platitudes because it really fits well into the mesh of this event. This journey is a paragon of what it means to accomplish anything with sheer determination and willpower. For those of you who may not know what this whole debacle was about, the journey began on February 12th. An Australian programmer who chose not to be named devised an experiment that was hosted on Twitch TV. This social experiment was based on crowdsourcing input commands, via a chatbox through an internet relay chat, to command the player character around in the Pokémon world. It was a test to see whether the main game could be beaten. The button commands were limited to the hardware restraints of the Game Boy: Up, down, left, right, B, A, start, select. These button inputs were relayed to the chat, and the player is controlled in an emulated game version. Players were left laughing watching Red walk like a drunken fool through the overworld. What was to be a small stream somehow exploded into a viral phenomenon, scoring millions of views (by last view count it was around 33 million views), and spawning memes, religions, intricate fan art, and cultures. At some point in the duration of the run, there were instances in which the stream had 120,000 active players. The stream put to the test the limitations that the Twitch TV servers could handle, with the administration even commenting on the viral success of the stream, having lauded the experiment. There are some who ask about why this stream may have been so special, however.​
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    We had some dedicated fan art going around here these past two weeks!
    This stream is a special instance because of its entirely chaotic nature. As the stream gained popularity, there began a share of trolling the game to an extent, with these players inputting commands to deter the progress of Trainer Red. Some of these fine moments included forcing Red to jump down from ledges, releasing prized Pokémon from the PC, and causing Red to do silly commands like consulting the Helix Fossil or constantly saving his progress. At around day 7 of the stream, a new feature was introduced into the chat, called Anarchy/Democracy mode. Anarchy mode retained the "trueness" of the Twitch Plays Pokémon stream, with the button presses being used to control the trainer character, and "Democracy" mode being a careful and calculated voting process that some considered to be detrimental to the game's overall focus due to the slowness of pace that Democracy was bringing in. However, if it weren't for democracy, the stream would have taken far longer to complete technical puzzles. Look at the Game Corner deal, the community spent a whole day wandering around in there. Did the introduction of anarchy/democracy bring anything unique, though? Did players still have control over the decisions? What made this feature unique was that it required a massive majority to move from Anarchy to Democracy and vice-versa, thus truly giving the people the power to command Red.​
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    This stream was entirely special because there is no real source of guidance given its chaos. We knew what was going to happen storywise, but as far as predicting events that occurred from trolling, there was no way to counter that. Players and supporters of the experiment had to create mediums of communication, such as a subreddit, forums to discuss strategic elements in how to proceed, or creating simple pages to timeline the sequence of events as they happened. Some of these elements proved very useful and received hundreds of thousands of views, showing the vast support people had for the project. People wanted to see this event through. Even within the confines of my university, I could overhear conversations of people saying things like "Praise Helix" or "Hail Lord Flareon." The hype surrounding this event was absolutely phenomenal, having been covered in detail by most media outlets. We all watched and shed tears of grief when the Charmander and Rattata were released from the PC early on into the stream. We watched as Red was stuck in the Rocket Maze for about a day. We watched with triumph as the stream completed itself earlier today.​
    At the end of the day, what did this do to the society of video game players? This event brought a lot of people together. It brought hope and joy, and also sadness and anger, as we watched Red travel like a poor, drunken fool through the Kanto region. The ascension to the zenith of the Pokémon League earlier today did prove one thing however, that no matter what happens, no matter how bad things can get, anything is possible with a determined mind. I feel like that is the lesson that we as people should take home from the social experiment. Anything is possible, despite major setbacks.​
    In a way, I could compare the Pokémon journey to that of real life. Though there are times that obstacles are encountered, at the end of the day with a bit of help from your fellow colleagues you can pick yourself up and move forward. By looking at the many accomplishments this game has achieved, it could look like the community favors anarchy over all else. I look at Twitch Plays Pokémon! as a way to show that our spirit can manifest in the most unexpected places. It took a collective of hundreds of thousands of players to do what people thought impossible. People picked up the slack when thousands wanted to deter the progress. This stream showed that standing united for one cause would ultimately lead to success.​
    So! Looking back at the viral success of the stream, what did you guys think about it? Do you guys have high hopes for the future in regards to a stream of another title? How did the stream change you as a person? Did you like the event overall? Sound off in the comments below!​
     


  2. chavosaur

    chavosaur Austin Trujillo

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    I feel like it's probably gonna be a one hit wonder. I can't see myself getting anywhere near as worked up about any future projects as I did this one.
    But this stream will go down in history with gamers everywhere I'm sure.
    I will forever consult the Helix Fossil, and Maintain Anarchy!
     
  3. Harsky

    Harsky Madmin

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    I'm waiting for Nintendo to throw a bucket of piss over the parade when they send the creator a C&D letter claiming that thousands of people are playing this "illegally". Either way, Gold/Silver is definately a bigger adventure so it'll be interesting to see if it can maintain the same amount of interest. That said, the music can drive me a little mad after having it on for an hour and realising that the character has been spinning around and around and around.
     
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  4. Qtis

    Qtis Grey Knight Inquisitor

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    Oh internet, I like you so! Twitch plays Pokémon is a fantastic social test, which had abnormal success. I'd imagine we'll see actual published research papers from sociology or psychology departments in a few years.

    The first gen Pokémon games are great for 1 thing and one thing alone. You can grind yourself to victory. You don't really lose anything from losing, especially in a game with Twitch mechanics (seriously, did they manage to buy a single useful item, ever?). If there was some kind of XP loss for losing, we'd still be in Pallet Town :P
     
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  5. Pedeadstrian

    Pedeadstrian GBAtemp's Official frill-necked lizard.

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    What kind of University do you go to...? I sure hope the people there don't become the leaders of tomorrow.

    Seriously though, I had seen the acronym TPP around, and I had no idea what it was. Thanks for informing me~
     
  6. Ryukouki
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    Ryukouki See you later, guys.

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    I should mention that these guys are the hard-core yugioh kids who play 24/7.
     
  7. Sicklyboy

    Sicklyboy Resident Mechanical Keyboard Addict

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    Why not? Is the capacity to have a bit of light-hearted fun, quoting pop-culture trends and making references to current events the makings of a bad leader?
     
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  8. Foxi4

    Foxi4 On the hunt...

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    First of all, Bird Jesus all the way.

    [​IMG]

    Now, as for the effect on society, the experiment definitely showed what we already know about the human psyche - there are always going to be those who desperately cling to working as a group, those who want to sort things out their own way and rebel whenever things are not going as planned and those who will throw sticks into the spokes of your bicycle's wheel just for the sheer pleasure of watching you fall.

    It was definitely an interesting experience and one that I gladly watched and participated in - "we had joy, we had fun, Helix Fossil in the sun, but the joy didn't last because Bird Jesus kicked ass". I sincerely hope that the fun continues with more Pokemon games and that the mechanism of the stream will be used by others as well.
     
  9. Flame

    Flame Me > You

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    Oh yes. how can we have leaders of the tomorrow be one of us... we need leader who are not in touch with the normal person and is super rich because they have had every thing given to them.
     
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  10. anhminh

    anhminh Pirate since 2010

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    Sadly, yes.
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  11. Gahars

    Gahars Bakayaro Banzai

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    :P

    I think people are giving this a little too much credit. The appeal here was the novelty of it all; people aren't really interested because of its viability or because of any deeper underlying meaning.
     
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  12. Ryukouki
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    Ryukouki See you later, guys.

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    There will always be an underlying meaning to those who choose to follow the Helix Fossil. ;O;

    I kid, for now. It was definitely a novel idea, and most likely going to be a one hit wonder. I'm hoping to be proven wrong. But we can argue anything given sufficient information. :)
     
  13. Foxi4

    Foxi4 On the hunt...

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    ...most people enjoyed watching it because it was a trainwreck. :P That said, it's still an interesting experiment and one you can draw conclusions from.
     
  14. Gahars

    Gahars Bakayaro Banzai

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    I think you could definitely make a case that this is another example of Internet groupthinking, where our technology allows us to pool together in a hivemind of sorts. I can't find the exact details, but I remember that there was a story a few years back where scientists called for internet users to help them with a problem. While the scientists were utterly stumped, they were able to solve in a matter of days (or hours, even).

    On its own, I don't think TPP means too much, but it's definitely a piece of a much bigger picture.
     
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  15. Celice

    Celice GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    Sadly, what often happens when other disciplines attempt to analyze and integrate videogame content is that the content is wildky skewed or discussed in such a way that it serves the discipline as a tool, rather than support the discipline as evidence. Everquest and Second Life have been the most popular games to be covered in fields you mentioned where this bastardization of videogames occurs in wide swathes. A basic example is, say, in pyschology there are certain behaviours we can see in basic people of a culture; looking at Second Life, we see these same behaviours, and as such, we know pyschology can be applied to videogames! when in fact, it is more that those analyzing end up justifying rather than observing such evidence, or at times even ignore counteractive evidence.

    Very, very few fields are actively engaged with videogames as a subject in itself. Ludology seems to be the most self-interested of game studies, but this is often too attached to the ideas of rules dictating form and experience, to the point where it is argued that games are a meaningless experience.
     
  16. Sicklyboy

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    I think that calling it a one hit wonder might be underestimating it a bit... In the interim, they were running Keitai Denjuu Telefang the same way as Pokemon Red was being run, and that still had ~25k viewers/players. Right now it just says "The End" with the countdown to the new game and there's still 20k people watching and voting between anarchy and democracy and sending button inputs for some reason (Btw, "TwitchPlaysPokemon playing -" updated to Gold/Silver/Crystal, gen2 confirmed)

    I think we can all agree this will be a fad, but I can see this still gaining a lot of popularity in the coming weeks before dying off.
     
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  17. Snailface

    Snailface My frothing demand for 3ds homebrew is increasing

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    The brilliance of TPP was not in overcoming the challenges presented in 100,000 players chaotically acting as one and accomplishing something.

    No. It was the memes. Praise Helix and the memes he generated.
    The kind that have collage age semi-adults?. Some of them play video games you know.

    And yes they will contribute to society someday despite playing video games, listening to rock music, not looking both ways before ... you get the idea I hope.
     
  18. Nah3DS

    Nah3DS Madre de Dios! Es El POLLO DIABLO!!!

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  19. osaka35

    osaka35 Instrucional Designer

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    If this is the kind of thing that "changes the gaming landscape" then my respect for the gaming landscape just plummeted a great deal. It's a passing curiosity, absolutely, but "the biggest gaming moment in 2014"? Give me a break.
     
  20. Pedeadstrian

    Pedeadstrian GBAtemp's Official frill-necked lizard.

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    Video games and rock are fine, but anyone who doesn't look both ways before crossing the street shouldn't contribute to society.
     
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