Twitch Plays: The Latest Gaming Trend

by Staff & Contributors on September 9, 2014

in Gaming

Last year saw a fresh new gaming phenomenon arrive on the scene that soon gained popularity with users of the ever-growing video streaming website Twitch. Commonly known as Twitch Plays this special social experiment utilised the Twitch chat room facility to parse commands to specific video games in order for players to collaboratively take control of the game in question as a single player. The verdict: it can be as fun as it is frustrating for all those involved.

Teamwork of course is at the crux of this unique gaming experiment, which initially used the perfectly suitable Game Freaks’ ‘Pokémon Red’ to test the waters of online cooperation. It was a stream that proved to be surprisingly popular with Twitch Television viewers, boasting 80,000 concurrent watchers during its run with over 1.1 million people participating in the action. The game was finally completed from start to finish after 16 unbroken days of gameplay which resulted in a huge total of 55 million views during the entire project.

Off the back of this success, and with plenty of online and media chatter as well as all the usual community banter based around the concept, further games from the Pokémon franchise were subsequently used. This included Pokémon Crystal, Pokémon Emerald, Pokémon FireRed, Pokémon Platinum, Pokémon HeartGold, Pokémon Black, Pokémon Black Version 2, Pokémon X and Pokémon Omega Ruby. Each with its own set of issues, drawbacks and other great dual gaming challenges to overcome.

The special script that was created in order to achieve the collaboration allowed chat room users within the channel to post specific command messages such as Start, A, B, Select and relevant directional commands. These commands in turn are then sent directly to the emulator of the game as a button input which is then able to dictate the live gameplay. However, when there are thousands of users each sending commands in real-time the game struggles to keep up and therefore the resulting on screen action can become greatly overworked.

Now, as “Twitch Plays” users are attempting to tackle FromSoftware’s action-filled game Dark Souls, and are reportedly making good progress, it’s great to see cool and innovative collaborations uniting gamers across the world.

There is speculation that these types of experiments could soon become common place. Twitch already caters for game and music lovers and even features a number of popular esport events as well as other immersive real-time events like live online roulette. If the Dark Souls experiment proves to be a hit, as is anticipated, then even more classic games could be transformed into MMOG’s.

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