The iconic streaming experiment Twitch Plays Pokémon is not only still alive and kicking, it’s now taking on a new challenge: controlling two games in one go. After playing nearly every Pokémon game imaginable, it’s impressive that the channel continues to find new ways to keep the social experiment alive.
A quick recap, for those of you who somehow missed this the first time around: Twitch Plays Pokémon is an interactive livestreaming channel where viewers submit game commands through chat. It was a massive hit when it debuted in 2014, with millions of people tuning in to wade through Kanto. Since then, the stream has played everything from unreleased Pokémon hacks to modded versions where players told Pokémon what to say out loud.
To celebrate the fourth anniversary of TPP, the channel is doing a “dual” run of the original Pokémon games. To participate, viewers send commands through chat as always, but they have to specify a game for each input. They can send inputs blindly, too, in which case the channel will alternate between Red and Blue, depending on the order of the commands. Curiously, this livestream still incorporates the occasional “democracy mode,” where viewers can vote on the specific commands they want, up to nine at once—but in those instances, the democracy vote will apply to both games.
If you haven’t tuned in for a while, the UI probably looks intense. You’ll note, for example, that each game shows the team roster and acquired badges underneath their respective game screens. Also, just to make things a little more overwhelming, there’s a game of Pokémon Pinball going on near the bottom of the screen, and players can use it to bet tokens. Overall, the stream has gotten way more bells and whistles over the years: you can now, for example, gain stream out-of-game ‘badges’ that can be traded or combined to create entirely new badges. You can also collect crates that contain badges and tokens, and the stream also allows for text-to-speech. Fancy.
But, as always, the appeal of Twitch Plays Pokémon is in how players make progress despite the pandemonium of inputs. Right now, the Pokémon Red game seems to be slightly ahead of the Pokémon Blue game, with two badges acquired so far.
The stream has already had some memorable moments. Early on, the game of Pokémon Red completely glitched out and turned the player into a garbled mess. The games have also managed to synchronise with each other to an eerie degree. And, of course, there have been gym battles:
In the last TPP stream, it took players seven days to beat the game with a team that consisted of Muk (level 76), Vikavolt (level 77), Lycanroc (level 72), Trevenant (level 78), Primarina (level 79), and Tyranitar (level 71). The community is also releasing another iteration of the fan-made “TwitchDatesPokemon” game for Valentine’s Day this year, and you can follow its progress here.