It’s been four years since the historic first runthrough of Twitch Plays Pokémon. While the community kept going beyond the initial hype and Internet fame, the stream is taking on a special challenge for the anniversary: playing both Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue simultaneously.
The first Twitch Plays Pokémon stream kicked off on February 12th, 2014. For those who might have missed the now-internet-famous event, Twitch Plays Pokémon is an interactive stream where players can control the main character, Red, by inputting commands into the stream’s chat. With thousands of players throwing commands at the stream at once, the result is usually pure chaos, with tons of incidents like accidentally jumping over ledges, using Dig at the wrong time and leaving crucial items behind, releasing the team’s best Pokémon into the wild, and never-ending stops to open the item bag and read the description on the Helix Fossil.
Incredibly, Twitch Plays Pokémon actually managed to beat the game, and went on to play through the other main Pokémon games, hacks of the games, and even some crazy mods.
Now the stream is back, playing both Red and Blue simultaneously in celebration. It’s a bit crazy to watch, so here’s a breakdown of what’s happening on the screen.
The actual gameplay occurs in the top left and right corners of the screen. Just below each gameplay screen is a tracker to show the current state of the Pokémon in the party, including how much health each Pokémon has left and what moves each Pokémon knows. Below that is a tracker for more general progress through the game, including the number of badges earned, number of Pokémon caught, and money currently carried.
The center of the screen is taken up the by chat inputs, and is color coded to show which inputs are going into which game. Underneath that are the stream stats, including the amount of time played and the number of viewers. Sound effects for both games are turned on, but (thankfully) only one piece of music plays at a time, so there’s also an announcement there of which song is being played. The stream pulls appropriate music from games like Pokémon Stadium and Pokémon Colosseum to change things up a bit, so it may not always be selections from Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue.
Then, just because things weren’t chaotic enough, there’s also a constantly ongoing game of Pokémon Pinball at the bottom of the stream that players can participate in to bet tokens.
To join in on the madness, you simply have to comment on the stream, with an “L” or “R” to indicate whether you want your input to contribute to the game on the left or the right, and an input such as “up” or “a” or whichever action you’d like to see taken.
The first Twitch Plays Pokémon run took 16 days to complete, while other runs have been completed in a week or so. The current stream will likely stick around for a while, so it may be worth taking a glance inside over the course of the next week to check up on the stream’s progress—or to add to the chaos yourself.