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Twitch Plays Pokemon ends in victory for the crowd (update)

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Twitch Plays Pokémon, the crowd-playing experiment in which thousands of people sought to win a game of Pokémon Red through a live-streaming site, has ended with victory for the players.

Following 16 days of play, attracting hundreds of thousands of concurrent players, the game came to an end, with players pooling their inputs to defeat the final Elite Four. A ticker on the Twitch Plays Pokemon page is currently counting down to the start of "a new adventure" due to begin Sunday morning.

Twitch Plays Pokémon, parses Twitch chat comments being typed by thousands of viewers. While chat users can type whatever they want into the channel's chat, the software that powers Twitch Plays Pokémon only parses a handful of commands: up, down, left, right, select, start, a and b, the inputs of the original Game Boy version of Pokémon Red.

Powered by a combination of JavaScript and Python code and the Game Boy emulator VisualBoyAdvance, the channel is the creation of an anonymous Australian programmer.

In an email interview, the channel's creator said they launched the channel without expecting it to gain much attention. But the game became an online phenomenon, attracting hundreds of thousands of concurrent users as well as Internet memes based on collective in-game jokes.

Two weeks ago, the game's creator told Polygon that winning the game might not be possible. "I'm going to let it continue to run 24/7, I'd like to see the Elite Four beaten but I have my doubts about it being possible without much better coordination."

Twitch stated that it is considering using the experiment as the basis of a new gaming platform on the streaming service.

Update: Twitch has released some stats for the game, which lasted 16 days, 7 hours, 45 minutes and 30 seconds:

  • Pokémasters: 1,165,140
  • Commands issued: 122+ million
  • Peak Pokémasters watching: 121,000
  • Onlookers: 9+ million
  • Total views: 36+ million
  • Minutes watched: 1+ billion