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Brothers in Gaming and Tech

Hive Mind Plays Pokémon via Twitch

Like the Borg zeitgeist of Star Trek, one philosophy is that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, and that by working together humans can make the most complex of tasks easier on all.  Now, take this philosophy and throw it out of the window, and we get the collective mind playing Pokémon.  This is happening right now on twitch.tv: an experiment involving a Pokémon Red ROM and emulator, taking the inputs from the users in chat and turning them into actions used in the game.

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So far the experiment is 3 hours and 12 minutes in, and the collective psyche has eight captured entities in the Pokedex and three gym badges.  That might be all well and good, but due to the popularity of the experiment, there is a 40 second lag between what is typed into the chat and actual action.  This is partly because of hte way the system is built, but also the fact that the stream has had nearly 3 million viewers and currently sits at ~31k viewers.  In fact, while typing this, Pidgeotto just turned level 36 and attempted to evolve – but at least one person selected ‘b’ 40 seconds ago and it was registered as an input, it did not evolve.

As it stands, and as far as I can tell, the party consists of a Pidgeotto, a Rattata, an Abra, a Drowzee and a Farfetch’d.  The starter Pokémon (Charmander, evolved into Charmeleon) is in a box in the PC, and the stream is currently in a cave on the way to the fourth badge.  Some of the Pokemon names are garbage (JLVWNOOOO and ABBBBBBK) because of the sheer amount of random information going on.  This image at Reddit explains the mess:

63926a729b903191e29bb41491207393

There has been an issue in the system as well – spammers, bots and trolls.  Users have generated accounts to spam meaningless actions (start and b) in order to slow down progress.  As a result the algorithm has been modified to reduce the level of ‘start’ presses, but a lot of the time is used going in and out of menus.  The chat log is an endless stream of crazy.

Watch the stream here:

Watch live video from TwitchPlaysPokemon on www.twitch.tv

If my memory serves me correctly, I was able to complete Pokémon Blue in just shy of 13 hours.  I’m guessing that this experiment will take at least a month (!).  Here are some predictions though:

– The Pokemon will be overpowered for whereever they are.
– All the items will be used or dropped, unless they cannot be.
– Most of the Pokemon will learn all the HMs, or as much as they can.
– Most Pokemon will not evolve.

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This entry was posted on 2014/02/16 by in Gaming News and tagged , , , , .
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