Twitch has had an interesting past 2 weeks. What started as a social interaction experiment with the Twitch community playing Pokémon Red exploded into an entertainment phenomenon. To think that just a simple series of random button presses could create such an entertaining stream to watch (in small doses) is awesome!

Twitch Plays Pokémon is controlled entirely by the chat system in Twitch. Each user can press one of the 8 buttons used in Game Boy games (up, down, left, right, A, B, Start, and Select) simply by typing the phrase into the channel’s chat window. The most difficult part of the gameplay process, however, is the fact that Twitch has a delay between typing a command in chat and actually putting it in the game. Twitch does this in order to be able to support simultaneous streaming to large amounts of people.

There is a failsafe for start button spammers as well as an anarchy/democracy mode when things get too hectic, but for the most part progress is made by random button presses. A shocking amount of progress as well, since Twitch Plays Pokémon officially beat Pokémon Red on Saturday. If you missed out, don’t worry. Twitch Plays Pokémon started up Pokémon Crystal on Sunday.