Online social experiment tops a million players

Posted on March 6, 2014


More than one million people have taken part in an online social ‘experiment’ called ‘Twitch Plays Pokémon’. The objective was to complete the game, hugely popular on Nintendo’s Gameboy in the 1990s, with users controlling the games character simultaneously.

The investigation, conducted by social-gaming video site, Twitch, allowed users to take part in the game by typing command functions into the sites chat newsfeed. In total, it took 16 days to complete the game, with the site having more than 36 million views for the duration of the investigation.

The experiment attracted plenty of attention, with some users describing it as part of internet history, whilst others failed to see the purpose. The sites creator has said:

“I didn’t really have any plans for it. I just wanted to see how people would respond.”

Twitch staff have described the experiment as a pivotal moment, saying:

“Possibly the greatest by-product of this experiment is that this could be the biggest ‘we’ moment in the history of gaming.”

Players used the site’s chat function to type commands from the original game to move the character through its fictional storyline. Two game modes were used to determine how commands were processed: Anarchy mode, in where all commands were immediately applied, and Democracy mode, where the most popular command entered over a short period of time was used.

Despite initial problems with game speed due to the number of users attempting to control the character, the experiment has followed up with the introduction of Pokemon Crystal to Twitch.

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