Over a year ago an anonymous Australian programmer started a social experiment called “Twitch Plays Pokémon”. The experiment consisted of a video stream on Twitch of the video game Pokémon Red. Viewers could interact with the video game by sending commands through the chat room of the stream which controlled the avatar of the game in real time. After more than 16 days of continuous playing, the game was completed.
When the experiment started, a few hundred people were watching. However, soon enough the internet caught on and the stream became unexpectedly popular. Instead of a few hundred, tens of thousands of people were watching.
During the remainder of the experiment, an average of 80,000 concurrent viewers was achieved, with a peak of 121,000 simultaneous viewers.
Within days, the experiment spawned many in-jokes, memes and even its own mythology around a specific item that was obtained during the play through. It became a culture of its own.