Twitch Plays Pokémon Returns to Its Roots for 10th Anniversary, This Time on an Old CRT TV

Twitch Plays Pokémon Returns to Its Roots for 10th Anniversary, This Time on an Old CRT TV

If you long for 8-bit graphics and Pokémon adventures of yore, I’m happy to report that your wait is over. A Twitch channel is making it possible to play Pokémon Red, the first game in the franchise and a staple of the ‘90s, on an old CRT TV alongside countless fans across the globe.

To celebrate its 10th anniversary, the channel “Twitch Plays Pokémon” is going back to its roots—specifically, Pokémon Red, the game that started its journey. Back in 2014, an anonymous Australian developer delighted the gaming world by launching the “crowd-playing” channel, which used special software to let viewers collectively play an emulated version of Pokémon Red for Game Boy. Users participated by typing in commands, such as “up,” “down,” “start,” or “select,” into the Twitch chat box.

At its peak, more than 120,000 people worldwide were playing Pokémon at once. As can be expected, playing a game with so many people—essentially waiting for your turn with the controller online—is a very long process.

Overall, beating Pokémon Red a decade ago took the crowd a whopping 16 days. Moving so slowly sounds a bit like torture, but Twitch viewers loved it. Throughout the years, the Twitch Plays Pokémon community has come together to play many different Pokémon games, from Pokémon Crystal to Pokémon Blaze Black 2, among others.

You’re only 10 years old once though, and the Twitch Plays Pokémon channel wanted to do something special. To commemorate its anniversary, the channel is eschewing emulators this time around and playing on an official Super Nintendo with a Super Game Boy adapter, which lets you play Game Boy games through a TV. Organizers have even brought in a bulky CRT TV for the full retro experience, complete with the occasional flickering line on the screen.

The result is a live Twitch stream of the game on an old-school TV next to a Super Nintendo. All incoming commands from players are broadcast in a list next to the TV along with the amount of time played. At the time of publication, the crowd had logged one day and 20 hours of game time with an average of 430 viewers.

With three gym badges obtained so far, there’s still a long time to go before the community finishes the game, which means there’s plenty of time for you to jump on board. It’s never too late in life to be a Pokémon master, and something tells me the title will mean way more when shared with hundreds—or possibly thousands—of people on the same journey.

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