Twitch Plays Pokemon completes game

By Carolyn Rice
Technology reporter, BBC News

image captionThe game took 16 days to complete and involved more than one million players

More than one million people taking part in an online "social experiment" have completed a game of Pokemon.

Using the social-gaming video site Twitch, all the players were trying to control one character in the game at the same time.

Twitch is a website that lets users broadcast and watch games and use an online chat function while playing.

The online game took 16 days to complete and the site was viewed more than 36 million times.

The game, Pokemon Red/Blue, was originally launched on Nintendo's Game Boy handheld in the 1990s.

Anarchy or democracy

Players use Twitch's chat function to type in one of the original game's eight commands - up, down, left, right, A, B, start or select - to move the main character in the game.

More than 122 million chat messages were entered during the 16 days the game was active, according to figures released by Twitch.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionPokemon has spawned merchandise and even films

Progress of the main character, Red, through the game's levels had initially been slow as so many users tried to control him simultaneously.

The creator of Twitch Plays Pokemon had been sceptical about whether users would ever finish the game as he doubted players would be able to co-ordinate enough to overcome the game's hurdles.

Two playing modes were introduced to determine how chat commands were processed during the game.

Anarchy mode meant that everyone's command was applied immediately. Democracy mode meant that the most popular command entered over a 30 second period would be chosen.

Players could influence which mode was used by typing "anarchy" or "democracy" in to the chat function. The mode with the most votes would triumph until enough people voted the other way.

The aim of Pokemon Red/Blue is to become champion of the fictional region known as Kanto by defeating eight "Gym Leaders".

If players get this far, they gain access to the "Elite Four", who are the "top Pokemon trainers in the land".

In an official Twitch blog the game was called "the biggest cultural phenomenon to strike Twitch" and it thanked the sites "passionate and preposterous community".

The creator of Twitch Plays Pokemon told the Guardian newspaper he would introduce a new game. Shortly after the completion of Pokemon Red a new game was online on Twitch - Pokemon Crystal.

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