An amazing thing has been happening over the last two and a half weeks. For those of who don’t know, a well known streaming site for video games called Twitch, has collectively been playing Pokemon Red version. Users would enter commands that would translate into moves for the game that was being streamed. On top of the regular game boy commands users could also vote for democracy or anarchy. Obtaining a certain amount of votes for either mode would toggle the program to what their name suggests. Just a few hours ago Twitch beat the game. Rather, shall I say, ‘we’ beat the game. It took 16 days 7 hours and 52 minutes for the world to beat a 10 hour game. Astonishing especially since people watching the stream compared it to “watching a car crash in slow motion.” Regardless, many of the participants would agree that this win over a game released in 1996 proved so much more.
As a community, we laughed, mourned and cursed over pixelated Japanese monsters in a game that was meant for 8 year old kids; A game most of us have played and know so very well. Together we experienced the childhood defining moments almost two decades after Professor Oak first asked us if we were a boy or girl. In these 16 days, countless religions and sects popped up and fell as the game progressed. Every Pokemon we owned was personified and given nicknames. We dubbed the Helix Fossil as our lord and savior. When we brought the Helix Fossil back to life it was like our long lost best friend had returned home. When we released our starter Pokemon on accident, everyone blamed it on Flareon and nicknamed it the False Prophet. Most importantly however, our best friend; Pidgeot dubbed Bird Jesus, who was there from the beginning to end, became our shining beacon of hope. A common thought being thrown around was that we had evolved religiously and culturally what took humanity thousands of years, in two weeks.
For us it wasn’t just accomplishing a ridiculously difficult task, but a walk through memory lane with 500,000 other people while over 30 million people watched us. It was a statement on our perseverance to accomplish something together, no matter how long it took or how inefficient we were. For me, it was proof that even in pure anarchy, we still found a way to restore some order and think cohesively, albeit slowly, as one big amorphous being. Congratulations to Twitch, to me and to you for accomplishing what seemed almost impossible; beating a children’s video game together.
All hail the Helix Fossil.