Twitch Plays Pokemon: Can Thousands Work Together To Be a Master?

The past few days a social experiment has taken over Twitch. Twitch, for those who may not know, is an interactive streaming website primarily focused on gaming. This past week, a user by the name of TwitchPlaysPokemon uploaded the 1996 classic Pokemon Red to the servers of Twitch, enabling the game to be controlled via chat commands. The results are hilarious, interesting, and insane.

140218174147-twitch-plays-pokemon-story-topWhen the game went up on Twitch earlier in the week the play mechanics were amusing and novel. A player, in a chatroom of about 100, could enter a command and see the onscreen player move accordingly. Then thousands and thousands of people jump aboard. At its peak, Twitch is reporting that over  80,000 players were participating and watching at once. The result is a spastic main character who seems to be struggle to do anything but walk around in circles. The goal, now, has become to journey through the game as a group.

twitch-plays-pokemon

However, to better function tweaks have been made to the game. A few days ago, a change was made to the game to allow for a more civil play experience. Players now have the option of voting for either Anarchy or Democracy. When the majority of players vote for Anarchy, the game is carried out in the same fashion as it was when it first began; chat commands from all players dictate how the main character moves. When the majority of players vote for democracy, chat commands are disabled and players instead vote on what movement to make  and the game moves with the majority move.  Of course, it even gets more absurd when the game gets thrust into battle. The results have been absurd and have spawned memes and jokes across the internet.

I don't have time to explain the Helix thing..
I don’t have time to explain the Helix thing..

The sheer fact that this democratic system for working together has arisen in this chaotic world is incredibly interesting, both from a gamer’s perspective and a sociologist perspective. TwitchPlaysPokemon has become a fascinating case scenario for how the internet can create unique social experiences in places that once were not social. It shows the creative ability of group interaction to change and add new life into something from the past, and re-imagine what it is to play video games together.

Even if you’re not into for its social implications, it’s still a hell of a funny thing to watch.

Join in the fun here!

 

Nintendo UK creates the ” Nintendo Girls Club” on Youtube

A few months ago during E3 I asked the question whether Nintendo was being more gender inclusive after the inclusion of lead female characters in most of their E3 line-up. Yesterday, the Nintendo’s Girl Club youtube channel popped up on youtube, giving further evidence that Nintendo is really stepping up their efforts to appeal to a wider audience.

The introductory video (posted above) promises trailers and news presented by the channel’s host  Jorgie Porter and other female fans of Nintendo games and franchises. All in all, it seems like the channel will be just that: female gamers talking about games and news relating to Nintendo. It’s a welcomed and novel approach, and it does show that Nintendo is at least trying to appeal to female gamers. I doubt we’ll see any hard hitting insight on the channel, but it’s good nonetheless. This comes after many divisions of Nintendo have launched a marketing campaign to appeal to a wider demographic of gamers, including commercials and games that more widely appeal to a greater audience.

If you are or know a young girl that is a fan of Nintendo then they may enjoy this new channel. I realize this entire post reads like a advertisement for Nintendo, but I thought it was something worth noticing.

Check out more videos on the Nintendo Girl’s Club Youtube channel

 

Study Shows Video Games May Help with Dyslexia

Study Shows Video Games May Help with Dyslexia

Today in The Biology of Video Game news (Wait, that’s not what this blog is…)

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Jokes aside, a recent study suggests that there may be benefits of video games on those with dyslexia. This is important news to those with children struggling with dyslexia or those themselves who struggle with it, which is about 5%-10% of the population. I won’t go into the study all too much, but essentially the study found that children with dyslexia were able to  match those without dyslexia when it came to reacting to a visual cue followed by a sound cue, as opposed to being asked to reacting to cues broadly.

Hey, what does that have to do with video games you may be asking. First of all, I don’t know why you’re asking a computer screen, and secondly, this finding would suggest that video games may be able to assist with dyslexia because video games may be able to get children with dyslexia more accustomed to switching between audio and visual cues.  As one of the researchers behind the study suggest:

“The idea is to train with some kind of video game that trains the eye movements to different locations to add in that multisensory component,

Maybe in the future we’ll see games developed specifically for kids with dyslexia to help alleviate the problem. It certainly wouldn’t be far fetched, as we already have plenty of video games meant to teach kids basic reading and writing.

I don’t know what this game is, but it looks like so many of my nightmares.

So at this point you may be asking (as we’ve already established you’re a curious one) what does this all have to do with sociology. Well, if video games can help alleviate dyslexia or train your brain in other ways, then certainly they will become a more important part of our social world. The more evidence of the benefits of video games, the more they become a social norm in our society. That’s not too bad for us gamers, right?

Check out more classic video games re-imagined as children’s stories Here!

Check out the original study Here!

Racist Games: Custer’s Revenge (Atari 2600)

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Warning: If you’re offended by crudely pixilated genitalia, look no further pass this sentence! Honestly, it’s nothing more than blocks in this scenario. Literally. 

In chronicling the games from Racist pasts, one has to start at one of the very first. Even before game’s could tell much of a story there was some pretty heavy racism in video games. Thus, we look back at the most racist games of the Atari 2600: Custer’s Revenge

Oh God! No! What am I even looking at!
Oh God! No! What am I even looking at!

Amongst racist games, this is probably one of the most well known titles. The game receive a huge backlash upon release because of it’s sexism, racism, and down right digusting nature. Released in 1982 as an adult title for the Atari 2600, the game has carried several titles over the years: Custer’s Revenge, The White Man Came (That’s one’s silly) and Westward Ho.  I should mention, there are actually several more adult video games on the Atari 2600, but Custer’s Revenge is arguably the most graphic and offensive.

How could anyone not want to play?

So what’s offensive about these 10 blocks walking into those other 10 blocks? Well, the game puts you in the role of General George Armstrong Custer. For those unaware of who General Custer is and for sake of back story to this atrocious game, General Custer was a notable general during the American Civil War and the Indian Wars. His most famous and last  battle “The Battle of Little Bighorn” involved his cavalry fighting a coalition of native American tribes rebelling against the treatment of native American tribes (You know, the whole killing most of them and putting the rest on reservations. that treatment). General Custer and his men were killed at the  Battle of Big Horn,  which later came to be called Custer’s Last Stand. While I don’t want to get into which side was at fault, as certainly American History is favorable to Custer and the American cavalries , it doesn’t take a activist to know that there was much more to the battle that American history overlooks for the sake of favoring Americans. With all of this, you may be asking: What does this have to do with this horrible video game?

Well…That’s where the game comes in. We are to assume that General Custer, famously known for being slain by native American rebels, has come back from the grave to get his revenge on the people who killed him. How does he do that? Rape of course!

The point of the game is  to get a naked General Custer from the left of the screen to the right of the screen where a naked native American woman is waiting, all the while dodging spears that are being thrown.  That’s it It’s a simple, stupid game. There’s honestly not much to say about the game that can’t just be visually seen from a screenshot of it. Upon getting to the right of the screen, Custer has sex with the Native American girl up against (presumably) a cactus. Terrible. Just terrible.

 

That’s essentially all there is to say about the game. It’s horrendous and completely and utterly racist and sexist. It has grown to one of the more famous racist games to the point that there is actual fan art for the game, and a fan remake was released several years ago that depicts the racism and sexism in much greater graphics. I’ll leave you to find that fanfare if you really desire, though I highly recommend you do something more stimulating like watching paint dry or licking your shoe.

For better of worse, this game will forever go down as being of the most racist games of all time.  It’s also worth mentioning that Custer’s Revenge is the second thing you find when googling  General Custer.