Twitch Plays Pokémon (TPP) has finished; Twitch Plays Pokémon has just begun. This is the general sentiment after last weekend, tens of thousands of internet users collectively beat the first title in the Pokémon series, pausing only briefly before starting on the next generation.
The original TPP began two weeks ago on 12 February when an anonymous developer created a live-stream of Pokémon using online service Twitch, hacking the site’s chat box to serve as a controller for the game. Online spectators type out their commands and the game processes them concurrently, leading to utter chaos.
However, as the infinite monkey theorem illustrates, even completely undirected chaos can result in some form of order and 17 days into the stream the players beat the game’s final bosses – the Elite Four and the Pokémon Champion. The channel attracted more than 35 million unique views over its span and at its peak there were nearly 120,000 players participating.
Now, after a 24 hour break, the gamers have started on Pokémon Crystal, a title from the third generation of Pokémon games. At the time of writing players have already grabbed the first three of the game’s eight badges, with a live Google Doc available, tracking the process.
It’s not clear how much longer TPP will continue to attract such large amounts of interest. The original game went viral thanks in no small part to its novelty, but some individual have suggested that the format, blending spectating and participation, is in itself a valid format.
Twitch’s VP of marketing Matthew DiPietro told Gamespot that the original stream was an example of “how video games have become a platform for entertainment and creativity that extends WAY beyond the original intent of the game creator.”
“By merging a video game, live video and a participatory experience, the broadcaster has created an entertainment hybrid custom made for the Twitch community,” said DiPietro. “This is a wonderful proof on concept that we hope to see more of in the future."