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. 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. 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!