At any given point in the day there is anywhere between 5,000 to 20,000 people watching “Fish Plays Pokemon” on the website Twitch. What is so interesting about this Twitch channel and why have 2.8 million people so far wasted away in front of their computer screens watching a fish play Pokemon? Quite frankly, I don’t know. However, Fish Plays Pokemon is a hit and people keep coming back for more.
Fish Plays Pokemon stems from the social experiment Twitch Plays Pokemon: A Social Gaming Phenomenon. In Twitch Plays Pokemon, gamers all play Pokemon at once by entering keys into the chat bar. This means thousands of people are entering commands almost simultaneously which creates quite the interesting game. That is, until non-human players got involved and sabotaged the game.
So what exactly is Fish Plays Pokemon? Well, it is exactly as it sounds, a fish playing Pokemon. How exactly does a fish play Pokemon? Well in this setup, the fish is in a tank and a video is recording his every move. If the fish swims over superimposed control buttons, that button is activated in the Pokemon game. The program for the fish to be able to play Pokemon was created by Catherine and Patrick who are two developers from the HackNY Fellows Class of 2014 that attend school at the University of Chicago and Columbia University, respectively. You can follow them on Twitter at @catmoresco and @plfacheris.
The duo describes the program as follows:
“Hi everyone! Welcome to our stream where our fish, Grayson Hopper, plays a Pokemon game.”
Yeah, it is that simple, a fish named Grayson Hopper is playing Pokemon by floating around in his tank and millions of people have watched. Not only are people watching, they also comment on the “action” at hand. The developers also update the page with the latest progress or battles Grayson Hopper has completed. The best part of the page is reading the comments and waiting for everyone to comment when Grayson goes to “sleep” at the bottom of the tank.
The fish seems to get incredibly still and float to the bottom of the tank at times, motionless. As soon as this happens, concerned viewers will start posting RIP signs and start chatter about whether or not Grayson has kicked the bucket. In fact, it happens so frequently, the developers FAQ on the page states:
Is the fish dead?
- No, the fish is not dead. He just sleeps sometimes.
I really think the fish is dead.
- Seriously, it’s okay guys. He’s just sleeping.
What do you think of the fish playing Pokemon craze? Would you watch Grayson Hopper battle it out in Pokemon?