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Looking deeper into Twitch Plays Pokemon

Pokemon FireRed/LeafGreen Screenshot - Looking deeper into Twitch Plays Pokemon

Somehow, someway, a community has grown within Twitch Plays Pokemon. I’m not just talking about people bonding over a common interest. The streams’ viewers are working together to ensure progress happens. They want to beat gym after gym, dive further into Kanto, and (hopefully) beat the game.

Seriously, they’ve already begun work on figuring out how exactly to travel through Victory Road. Good luck with that, Twitch Plays Pokemon, because as you can expect, even the most simplest of tasks are difficult when 80,000 people are spamming commands all day long. In order to promote quicker progress, the stream implemented a “democracy” option. Viewers can type in democracy to help enable a mode where the next action is voted on.

Guess who didn’t like this: The viewers, who rose up in flat out rebellion. Democracy eventually took over, bringing in a new regime and new Ruling class. The viewers protested by spamming “start9,” a command that has the start button select nine straight times, and continued to vote for anarchy. Chaos raged through the streets Twitch chat, just as chaos has raged through the streets of various cities worldwide these past few years.

Yes, I just compared a Pokémon stream to the various government protests around the world, but hear me out for a second. Remember that the stream began as a social experiment. It was first established that people were able to work together for a common goal. Someone then came in and said “yeah, you’re not doing this fast enough, so we’re going to change things up.” We were talked down to, insulted, and had something of ours stolen. We weren’t happy, so protests and rebellion began. Obviously the “crimes” against Twitch viewers is nowhere near as atrocious as what has been seen in, say, Ukraine or Syria, but the point remains valid: when we don’t like what’s going on with the Ruling class, we fight it. When we reach our ultimate tipping point, we rebel.

Why would the viewers do this though? Don’t they care about progression? Yes, but it’s more than that: this is a story, an adventure. More importantly, it’s their story and they aren’t ever letting it go. It’s not just about Red collecting badges and challenging the Elite Four. It’s about their lord and savior, the Helix Fossil, the banishment of the False Prophet Flareon, and remembering their dearly departed Abby and Jay Leno. Someone tried to steal it from them, so they took back what is rightfully theirs. The viewers have a right to play the game how they want to play it.

In regards to a social experiment, Twitch Plays Pokemon is an astounding success. It has proved that people can band together for an incredible journey and common goal, regardless of their backgrounds. Within that newly created society, different sects can and will form. Yet when their way of living of threatened or when a governing body goes against the group’s desires, a unified rebellion will commence. In the end, the people will win out or die trying. It's about the journey, not the destination, and they don't want to lose control of that journey.

Can you blame them? 

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Jake Valentine
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Games: Pokemon FireRed/LeafGreen

Tags: Pokémon

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