Just when you think you’ve seen everything the internet has to offer, someone comes along and plugs the better part of humanity into a single emulated gameboy playing Pokemon. The result, as one might imagine, is unmitigated chaos.
This social experiment, hereafter referred to as ‘Twitch Plays Pokemon‘ (TPP) is the brainchild of an anonymous Australian researcher, and at the time of this writing has received over thirty million unique views. The game, running 24/7 for over two weeks, typically has tens of thousands of people watching, playing, and chatting at any given moment. The story has been picked up by CNN, Huffington Post, The Guardian, ARSTechnica, and Wired, among many media outlets.
At the risk of being direct: several things stand out to me as notable. Perhaps most apparent is that we’re seeing a strange new way for people to interact online: it’s the culmination of watching, gaming, and social interaction all at once on a massive scale. There’s an energy here that can’t quite be captured in words — look at the stream to see what I’m talking about.
Likewise, because the event continues to span days, we’re seeing an almost episodic-like lore emerge from the community. As the game continues to unfold, players from around the world are creating and sharing stories about the characters and events that take place within the game. For example, check out some of the fantastic fan art that has emerged over the last few days:
It’s a fascinating event that words can’t quite capture.
There’s an energy and excitement to see the world defeat this one video game that, quite frankly, is almost too nutty to believe. If nothing else, this event stands to illustrate one point: the game is constantly changing. The nature of media and entertainment is constantly changing — and we can’t control it.
All we can do is hold on, take a deep breath, and watch as the storm unfolds.
Even if it’s, um,.. pokemon.