Since the famous instance of Twitch playing Pokemon Red, programmers have found ways to replicate and expand upon the social experiment created by it. Recently, a creative programmer thought of a new way to play Pokemon through an entirely new and unique medium.
That programmer is a Twitter user known as @screenshakes who found a way to program their Twitter avatar to play Pokemon Crystal. Pokemon Crystal on Twitter functions similarly to Pokemon on Twitch: Twitter users can comment movements and actions below the tweet that the character inside the avatar will follow, allowing users to progress through the game with their combined efforts.
Much like Twitch playing Pokemon Red, playing Pokemon on Twitter uses a democratic voting system to decide what action the character will take next. The voting system is on a 15-second timer, with a movement being made after the votes are tallied. A scripting program on Lietard’s end takes the user comments and turns them into commands, which then are used to create an image of the character’s movement in-game.
This image then replaces Lietard’s Twitter avatar, showing a movement or action occurring. After the 15 seconds are up and these actions occur, the next round of voting begins. Only the first word of comments are counted as votes; this serves a double-sided purpose of stifling spammers and also allows users to comment along with their actions.
Lietard has actually accomplished this feat before, having first programmed their avatar to play Pokemon Red in the same manner. That amazing Pokemon on Twitter playthrough saw over 90,000 users participating and miraculously ended with the defeat of the Elite 4 after 40 days of posting. Lietard also found new ways to optimize the experience as Twitter played through the game, changing Pokemon Crystal so that the game would save automatically with each round of voting and posting the Pokemon users had caught in Lietard’s Twitter banner. As of right now, the banner still shows the final roster of Pokemon Twitter beat Pokemon Red with, but that will most likely change very soon as Lietard updates their banner with the new Pokemon Crystal roster.
Fans of series deviating from the Pokemon formula may have hope for the future as well, as Lietard also tweeted about using their avatar for Super Mario Land, a feat that seems completely impossible at first. After all, the reason that Twitch and Pokemon worked so well is that Pokemon does not require quick actions or reflexes; Super Mario Land requires both.
However, using Twitter as a medium gives Lietard an advantage over Twitch: since the avatar is a still frame and the input changes only one frame at a time, it is potentially possible for games like Super Mario Land to be played as well.