Who's Better at Pokémon, Anarchist Twitch Players or a Betta Fish? | Smart News | Smithsonian

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Grayson the fish teased viewers earlier this morning by nearly going down the stairs. (Twitch / FishPlaysPokemon)

Who's Better at Pokémon, Anarchist Twitch Players or a Betta Fish?

Anarchy seems to be more effective than a fish, so far

smithsonian.com

Who's better at playing the hit 1996 video game Pokémon Red: a anarchic collective of video game enthusiasts, or a betta fish? Thanks to an enterprising coder and Grayson Hopper—a fish—we may soon find out.

Back in February of this year an anonymous Australian programmer combined the video game streaming site Twitch, a computer version of Pokémon Red and a crowd control scheme to spawn the unwieldy beast that is Twitch Plays Pokémon—a live, massive online version of the video game in which hundreds of thousands of players coordinated (or, you might say, competed) to control a single video game character. Hundreds of thousands of people mashing up, down, left, right—seldom with any degree of cooperation—struggling to become a Pokémon master. That's contestant number one.

Contestant number two is Grayson Hopper, a betta fish that has for the past few days been controlling the game by swimming around its tank. Grayson swims to the top left of the tank? Grayson's character goes left. Swims right? Goes right. Grayson, as you can imagine, is about as useful as a Magikarp. Yet, surprisingly, Grayson has managed to get quite a lot done in just a few short days, says Wired UK.

In the 125 hours he's been going so far, he has successfully chosen his first starter Pokemon: a Charmander (excellent choice), named it "AAAABBK" and defeated his first opponent, the rival's Squirtle. Not bad for a fish.

For much of this morning Grayson has been stuck in what appears to be the character's starting house, as thousands of people watch on in anticipation.

After 16 days Twitch Plays Pokémon eventually cleared the game's main quest, defeating the Elite Four and the players' main rival. It's been nearly a week so far and Grayson has yet to leave Pallet Town. Anarchy seems to be more useful than a fish, so far.

Watch live video from FishPlaysPokemon on www.twitch.tv
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About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

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