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Twitch Plays Pokemon captures the attention of UC Berkeley students

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MARCH 06, 2014

There is a new craze sweeping the Internet, and it has nothing to do with Justin Bieber or cats. It’s actually called Twitch Plays Pokemon.

The social experiment — created by an anonymous Australian programmer — is a game in which hundreds of thousands of people visit the website and simultaneously control the main character’s actions in the 1998 Pokemon game, “Pokemon Red.”

From the beginning, trying to achieve anything in the game was extremely difficult, considering the number of players who were consistently typing in commands. Pokemon expert Beau Mcglasson told us, “Users often ended up having the main character do ridiculous things, like going into the Pokemon center, getting trapped in the computer system and inadvertently releasing about half of the Pokemon they caught.”

On Saturday morning, the feat was achieved with more than 1 million people coming together to miraculously win the game. 

The goal from the beginning was essentially just to see if a large group could work to achieve something. And despite the desire to achieve this goal, the website has become a strange Internet sensation. Aside from being all over Reddit, the website has sparked users to create a religious narrative, an exceptional amount of fan art and an entire Twitch Internet community.

The craze has definitely caught the attention of UC Berkeley students. Seemingly arbitrary fliers displaying “TWITCH PLAYS POKEMON” in all caps and images of random Pokemon have been seen at Free Speech Movement Cafe and in other campus buildings.

Sophomore Kyle Chen told us, “Personally, I’m stunned that they managed to complete the game from the complete lack of cooperation I witnessed. I guess it’s novel though. And another demonstration of the wonders of online collaboration … It took them 13 days. That’s literally faster than some kids, I bet.”

Another student, sophomore Maryanne Ching, told us, “What the hell is this?”

Essentially, many people who have heard about this Internet craze, including UC Berkeley students, are stunned, confused and intrigued by “Twitch Plays Pokemon.” This new form of internet collaboration is something to be noted and is a perfect example of how media can be extremely peculiar and astonishingly innovative at the same time.

Twitch, the website behind “Twitch Plays Pokemon,” has expanded, now bringing the game streaming straight to your mobile phones and to XBox One. And in terms of “Twitch Plays Pokemon,” the Pokemon Crystal Version experiment began Sunday and has already received more than 40 million views.

Image sources: kokokatsup

Contact Gabrielle Nguyen at [email protected].

MARCH 05, 2014

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