Generative Art – Twitch Plays Pokémon

Clip taken from YouTube, featuring TPP against the Champion

Twitch Plays Pokémon (2014) 

Beginning on 12 February 2014,  Twitch Plays Pokémon was a social experiment that ran for 16 days with an estimation by Twitch of over 1.16 million participants, with peaking simultaneously at 121,000, while with a total of 55 million views during the experiment.

So what is it?

Twitch Plays Pokémon was a stream of a Twitch bot playing the original Pokémon Red, but with a twist that the controls was by the players in the chat, with no restrictions. This meant that the bot will accept the commands of thousands of viewers’ inputs and run them all, resulting a chaotic flow throughout the entire run.

“TPP not only inspired an entire generation of Pokemon fans, but it directly inspired Twitch” – Marcus “djWHEAT” Graham, Twitch Studios director

TPP opened up the medium of streaming to new means of innovations, enabling new perspectives at interactive content. This greatly interested me back then since it memes and the cult aside, showed relations and explores giving control and goals of participants, how an exceedingly large number of participants can affect a piece of work.

Is it generative art? Generative art requires human interaction against a computer algorithm, which results in chaos and unpredictability. TPP is an extremely powerful example of thousands of human commands working against a bot that computes and returns results, often times undesirable.

How does this relate to me? My FYP leans towards chaotic player interactivity, caused by multiple players simultaneously. TPP can be said as a powerful pioneer in the direction I am headed for.