After 10 years, Twitch Plays Pokemon is going back to the beginning, and this time Twitch chat isn't getting any help to beat the classic JRPG
12.02.2024 - 19:33
/ Dustin Bailey
10 years after the launch of Twitch Plays Pokemon, the social-experiment-turned-online-phenomenon is celebrating its double-digit birthday by getting back to basics, revisiting the original games on original hardware and this time trying to beat them without any method to reign in the full chaos of Twitch chat.
If you missed out on the whole Twitch Plays Pokemon thing the first time around, it's a stream where viewers directly control the action through chat messages. Any time somebody types "A," for example, the A button is pressed in-game. The initial run of TPP became something of a phenomenon back in 2014, drawing in tens of thousands of viewers, who transformed the collective chaos into a pile of weird, wonderful lore about how each game was completed.
TPP is not as popular as it once was, but the channel has been running for the past decade to a much smaller but entirely dedicated viewership, conquering tons of official Pokemon games and romhacks along the way. Now, coming up on the project's 10-year anniversary - yes, it really has been a full decade - the devs are going back for a "Super Gauntlet" of the original RPG series
While TPP has typically been played via emulation, this time "each run will be played on official Nintendo hardware and displayed on a real CRT TV," according to the channel description on Twitch. As of the oddly specific time of 3:18pm PT / 6:18pm ET / 11:18pm GMT today (February 12), TPP will begin a Super Gauntlet of games in which we intend to visit every known Pokémon region." The full list of games hasn't been announced yet, but the original Red is being teased as the first title.
There's another consideration here, as stream owner VorpalNorman explains on Reddit: "We plan to stick with Anarchy unless it's clear that progression is basically impossible." 'Anarchy' here refers to the traditional method of TPP, where everyone's messages are translated directly to in-game inputs. At various points - sometimes because the channel runners decide a section is too difficult or because viewers have voted on it - TPP switches to a mode called 'Democracy,' where viewers have to vote on inputs in certain intervals, so that the chaos of chat can't ruin a genuine push toward a challenging puzzle or map.
Democracy won't be an option this time, unless things get very bad. "The version of the TPP core we're using does not currently support Democracy, so it's not like we can just throw a switch," VorpalNorman explains. "It's a feature we'd have to add, and I really hope we don't have to."
Sure, Twitch can play Pokemon, but the mathematical concept of Pi isn't having much success .