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Debate: Twitch plays Pokémon - A fad or a new force?

#1
Topic inspired from this thread: http://bbs.studio-revolution.net/showthr...p?tid=1290 Basically, join in the discussion (argue for or against, or even both), and later on an article may be compiled out of the discussion here. But until then just enjoy the topic and go nuts!


A quick starting point - Twitch Plays Pokémon is a channel in the live-streaming service website Twitch.tv, which allows people to stream live content, including of them playing video games. This particular channel has had the gimmick of having the chat be the command input for the game Pokémon Red - that is, if someone comments 'up', Red would walk up. Say A, the A button is pressed, and so forth.

Thus began a social experiment in which a whole raft of people over the course of 16+ days went and beat Pokémon Red, even amid troll attempts and the sheer absurdity of the challenge. (More in this other thread here: http://bbs.studio-revolution.net/showthr...p?tid=1283). Viewers on average were 70,000+ for many periods, and currently the views are at 52 million+.

There's been a bunch of other knockoff channels too doing the same general thing, while that channel has also since gone through Crystal and now is in the middle of Emerald.

The question is - are twitch plays like this going to remain a popular medium, or even grow in usage? Think of them like Nuzlockes - almost overnight they became a huge phenomenon, and today they're still hugely popular for challenges and comics of Pokémon games. Could they even be viable for other games besides Pokémon?

Or will Twitch plays where anyone can give inputs become a brief fad - hugely popular, but past its honeymoon already with number of viewers for the Emerald play often below 10,000?



I think that's sufficient as a base. GO!
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By TwilightBlade of PC. =D
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#2
I think it may be just a fad.

It was really great at first, and spawned all sorts of hilarious memes, but I haven't even heard of twitch going through the other games. Considering I frequent a couple different pokemon forums, I would have expected to hear something. It's declining in popularity, and it's hard to deny that. It was something cool to do for a while, but the shiny newness of it all is wearing off, and people are moving on.
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#3
Oh, it's definitely a fad. But I think it will follow the trend of the Pokemon games: massive surprising popularity fading slowly off until people get nostalgic for it. I'd predict....two years for it to re-reach the popularity it hit last month.

That said, I MASSIVELY prefer Democracy to Anarchy modes, in terms of playing the game and feeling like I have an impact on what happens. Anarchy's neat in concept, but no fun; Democracy allows you to see things happen. I heard there was a third mode created in Crystal, but not what the mechanics were.
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#4
When I went over there, I became interested as a bunch of people were jamming the chatline and doing all sorts of commands in the hope of getting into a gym. I got interested because Emerald was being played and I got hit with the nostalgia.

This is a unique fad and I'd say people would get interested as long as it goes to the later games. The rate it's going at that's going to happen soon enough. The trolls and all those who'd like to see things fumble are growing too, I don't feel it's going to go too well from now on.

The first reception of the fad was great, and so I feel the popularity spread easy. As long as there's a fairly decent number of viewers and players, the fad would continue on. It is a fun twist, but it may not be fit for the more linear RPGs that don't give that much of a choice as Pokémon (that is, six fully customizable monsters of 150+ to choose from) because the gimmick in it would be weak, as everyone would know what to do.

So yeah, I feel it's going to grow up again in a few months.
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#5
Bumpy gotta have more discussion than this! =p

Alright, so you say so far it's a fad, but Ole_Schooler and Hoenn, you feel that it'll re-emerge again. Cycles of interest, I suppose?
Jumping on this for sake of discussion direction:
Quote:That said, I MASSIVELY prefer Democracy to Anarchy modes, in terms of playing the game and feeling like I have an impact on what happens. Anarchy's neat in concept, but no fun; Democracy allows you to see things happen. I heard there was a third mode created in Crystal, but not what the mechanics were.
I would argue that a way to keep it fresh (ala different sorts of rules for nuzlockes beyond the core idea) is that these sorts of things are greatly customisable. You can implement a different way for inputs to be read, e.g. democracy, anarchy or even some other way (someone different in control every minute, for on-the-spot example). That would be an advantage to the twitch plays to get past a passing fad. Thoughts on that?
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By TwilightBlade of PC. =D
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#6
Throgh the research of TVTropes, I fond the new system implemented for Crystal (I think it was termed Chaos by the mob? Whatever, I'm calling it that) where there was a random input selected over a period of time... Maybe it would be more helpful to detail them out:

Anarchy: All inputs are recieved and acted upon by the game. However, since there is no queueing of commands in Pokemon games, most commands are ignored. Original version of the game. (In the mythos, presided over by the Helix fossil.)

Democracy: For 30 seconds, all commands recieved are counted. The command that has been entered by the most people is then acted out. Allows stringing of commands (e.g. up 3 left 2 down 1 left 2 would press those buttons that many times in order). Version created to aid with the puzzles, which were deemed nigh impossible with Anarchy. (In the mythos, presided over by the Dome fossil).

Chaos: For 0.5 seconds, all commands are recieved and held. A command is chosen at random from them. Version created in Crystal on the way to the Elite Four, possible not used since. (Nominally presided over by the Amber, because it's left over, but it's much less of a mythos thing.)

As far as I can tell, Red had Anarchy all the time, with Democracy able to be voted in. Crystal had Democracy set each hour, with Anarchy being voted back in at any time, and Democracy unachivable until the hour. That changed when Chaos activated on the way to the Elite Four, then Anarach took over with no option for Democracy. Emerald remained the same, but has gone back to Red's and Crystal's styles.

Coming up with a new style is hard, as the 30 second (at least) delay from when the commands are sent to went they display makes it hard to use the "one person in control for a minute" effectively. Worse, what if it got given to a bot? (Apparently Emerald's been having much more trouble with them trying to cause massive game disruption, which is weird, given that the stream is a lot less popular now.) Also, the Mob loooooooves Anarchy. They built a religion out of it.
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#7
Quote:Coming up with a new style is hard, as the 30 second (at least) delay from when the commands are sent to went they display makes it hard to use the "one person in control for a minute" effectively.
Ah yes, fair point. So much for that example of mine, haha. Although I imagine a better system/maybe less people would reduce the lag (and 30 seconds seems quite a lot), it's still not really viable...

Nonetheless, variations of existing styles (e.g. hour each of democracy and anarchy, unable to select one from the other, or say a randomiser on which mode is active every x minutes, the amount of people you choose to take a command from in the Chaos mode could be changed, etc) would be possible, I feel.
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#8
I have very little to contribute to this, since I never actually followed any of the Twitch plays [insert Pokémon game here] in any manner. The only things I know about it are from art and stories that leaked into the fandom in general. And boy did it leak over! There was so much fanart about it all over tumblr at one point. Now, not so much. I feel like the popularity is already faded to such a degree that it's no longer a matter of "is this going to be a fad", but a matter of "this was a fad"... Granted, I really just have no idea how strong the fandom is within the whole twitch thing, but it seems to have mostly removed itself from the Pokémon fandom at large by now.
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#9
Throwing in my two cents.

To be honest, while its popularity has died down in the general fandom (to the point where the new Random Fire Red, which started last night, only gained about ten thousand or so viewers), it still has a dedicated following and sustained popularity in a certain niche. Anni has already pointed out its popularity on Tumblr, but there is also definitely a following on deviantART and, most importantly, Reddit. Reddit is rather noteworthy in that not only does it have an entire sub board dedicated to the game, but it's also responsible for an elaborate, community-developed lore surrounding each play.

Edit: Moreover, maybe it's just me (considering the tags I lurk), but it seems that there's been an increase in TPP-based fic and art on both deviantART and Fanfiction.net ever since Reddit's fan theories have gotten more and more elaborate. There's a popular theory among the Redditors, for example, that the current protagonist of the randomized Fire Red run is the daughter of Bill, who's been cast as the villain of the TPP universe since the tail end of the original Red run. (Blame it on the fact that the folks at TPP couldn't use the box system without releasing half their Pokémon until Gen III.) This resulted in fan comics like these. Of course, plenty of other Redditors have stuck to the idea that Bill is evil and have consequently supplied the subfandom with plenty of fanwork to chew on.

The point I'm making is this. Like a lot of Pokémon-based interests, TPP gained a rather hefty following at the beginning but eventually ebbed down to a stable core of followers. To be honest, this is rather natural for a fan following. However, it most definitely has gained a footing on Reddit and morphed into its own fan universe. Will that fan universe survive past the playthrough of the last gen? It's a bit difficult to say because on the one hand, Reddit isn't exactly known for sticking to one thing for very long. On the other hand, the amount of thought and discussion the Redditors are putting into TPP has created an entire fanon that could stand on its own, and with that fan lore bleeding into FFNet and dA (both of which do take on fanfic/fanart trends until the horse is dead and thoroughly beaten—see literally any fanfiction trend that has ever been popular on the former), it's probably not going to go down that quickly.

So in short, it's probably a fad for most of the fandom, and it's true that it's already diminished in popularity on the forums. However, it's still definitely a thing in certain parts of the fandom; you just need to look in the right places to find it. It's pretty much like any other part of the fandom in that regard—a little like how you can't really find anime-based Pokémon fic anywhere else but FFNet or like how gen fic barely exists on Tumblr, LJ, and DW. Just because it's difficult to find doesn't mean it no longer exists or that the fandom, by and large, isn't interested.

Of course, to get back to the question, my answer is that, yes, it is a fad for a huge chunk of the fandom. But for the Redditors, it could go either way, given the fact that they're still on it and still producing creative work long after everyone else moved on. On the one hand, it could be comparable to the fic trends that pop up every so often on FFNet (i.e., popular now but not so popular only after the horse is dead, buried, dug up again, beaten until it's no longer recognizable as a horse, and buried again), but on the other, TPP's also gained a pretty hefty fan following over there that could possibly be comparable to the PMD universe. As in, you have plenty of people who are dedicated and creative enough to construct an elaborate fan universe and people who are heavily interested in creating fan material based on it, so there are means for the fandom to survive long after the "canon" stops producing fan material. It all depends on whether or not people start treating the fan universe they've created as a standalone fan universe by producing fan material beyond portraying parts of the lore.

(And if anyone asks how a fan universe can become a viable standalone fandom, my response is, "Hey, why not? The Poképasta/Lost Silver fandom is a thing.")
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#10
(12th Apr 2014, 04:40 PM)Jax Wrote: Throwing in my two cents.

(...)

The point I'm making is this. Like a lot of Pokémon-based interests, TPP gained a rather hefty following at the beginning but eventually ebbed down to a stable core of followers. To be honest, this is rather natural for a fan following. However, it most definitely has gained a footing on Reddit and morphed into its own fan universe. Will that fan universe survive past the playthrough of the last gen? It's a bit difficult to say because on the one hand, Reddit isn't exactly known for sticking to one thing for very long. On the other hand, the amount of thought and discussion the Redditors are putting into TPP has created an entire fanon that could stand on its own, and with that fan lore bleeding into FFNet and dA (both of which do take on fanfic/fanart trends until the horse is dead and thoroughly beaten—see literally any fanfiction trend that has ever been popular on the former), it's probably not going to go down that quickly.

So in short, it's probably a fad for most of the fandom, and it's true that it's already diminished in popularity on the forums. However, it's still definitely a thing in certain parts of the fandom; you just need to look in the right places to find it. It's pretty much like any other part of the fandom in that regard—a little like how you can't really find anime-based Pokémon fic anywhere else but FFNet or like how gen fic barely exists on Tumblr, LJ, and DW. Just because it's difficult to find doesn't mean it no longer exists or that the fandom, by and large, isn't interested.
Hmm, it does make sense that it is community specific, and I suppose this is to be expected! Compare to the nuzlocke case for instance. It spawned its own forums, while also has some following in specific sections (like also dA, because of the draw-a-comic versions of the nuzlockes).

Quote:Of course, to get back to the question, my answer is that, yes, it is a fad for a huge chunk of the fandom. But for the Redditors, it could go either way, given the fact that they're still on it and still producing creative work long after everyone else moved on. On the one hand, it could be comparable to the fic trends that pop up every so often on FFNet (i.e., popular now but not so popular only after the horse is dead, buried, dug up again, beaten until it's no longer recognizable as a horse, and buried again), but on the other, TPP's also gained a pretty hefty fan following over there that could possibly be comparable to the PMD universe. As in, you have plenty of people who are dedicated and creative enough to construct an elaborate fan universe and people who are heavily interested in creating fan material based on it, so there are means for the fandom to survive long after the "canon" stops producing fan material. It all depends on whether or not people start treating the fan universe they've created as a standalone fan universe by producing fan material beyond portraying parts of the lore.
I think this is a solid answer. Pleased I guess the end question from this then is which way will it turn out to be comparable to, the fic trend or the fan universe way?

I would say it may have more chance to go in the latter way, because trends in fics (script fics, or 'dark and edgy!' styles) are less directly connected to each other; people aren't building on the same world or general ideas, but more a style. The problem for it is what happens to it when this line ends. Which is a while away (DPPt and HGSS, then BW/B2W2 which is quite a while yet), but eventually this run will end. It may need more alternate fan universes to be created, from new runs of previous games organised by someone else, presumably.
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#11
Apparently they've gotten to FireRed and mixed it up. Like literally, they have an uber randomizer on, it's ridiculous, they started with a Truant Machop as their starter. They also picked the dome fossil...choosing the avatar of Order in a game of maximum Chaos.
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#12
Hmm, interesting. I suppose the fact there's a wealth of rom hacks, many relatively simple ones to implement (like the randomisers) means there's a fair bit of variety to be allowed from that in of itself.

It seems they just beat it too, and Platinum is to start in 5 or so days. Atm they're playing Mystery Dungeon, so I suppose that's a neat direction to take twitch runs as well.
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#13
Well, now that they're doing spin-off games, I guess they aren't running out of games anytime soon. If they've made it this far, I've got to agree with Jax on this one. It might have been super popular in the beginning, but now it's just down to the devoted followers. If it were just a fad, I doubt they would have played this many games.
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