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Here’s What Happens When Pokémon Is Ruled By Anarchists

Here’s What Happens When Pokémon Is Ruled By Anarchists

In 1996, Nintendo released a game for its Game Boy console that would change everything. That game was Pokémon Red.

Pokémon Red was the start of the Pokémon universe. The second-best selling game franchise of all time, the products that have spawned from this classic game have lasted two decades. With 21.5 billion trading cards out there and 260 million games sold, Pokémon is not showing signs of slowing down. The brand itself is has made $37.76 billion worldwide and earned $2 billion in the year 2014 alone.

Thus, Pokémania remains as intensely popular today as it was two decades ago. Both the classic games and the new additions continue to generate huge sales figures for Nintendo.

To get in on the action, a streaming service called Twitch began running Twitch Plays Pokémon in 2014.

Twitch Plays Pokémon was the perfect storm of online gameplay fueled by Pokémon intensity. It was half reality show and half art project, with as many viewers as there were payers.

Twitch transformed the game, with the help of a software development company, from a single player console game to a massively multiplayer online (MMO) game. This means that users who signed on to play were playing with as many as 120,000 users at the same time.

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Playing The Game

Old school fans know that the goal of a Pokémon game is to create the best team of creatures possible. The player then uses this team to solve puzzles and win battles to defeat other players. The player with the best team and the best record then becomes the Pokémon Champion.

To achieve this title was to unlock the ultimate dream of virtually any 90s kid.

Of course, this is an oversimplification of a classic game. But its relative simplicity is important when compared to how the game was played on Twitch.

Anarchy Mode And The New Rules Of The Game

The name of the game on Twitch was anarchy. The number one rule of anarchy is that there is no law and order—only chaos and disorder. This kind of play made for a whole new way of playing Pokémon.

Anarchy mode was the original mode of game play on the site. In Anarchy mode, as many as 100,000 people offer up commands for the characters. All these actions were fed into the emulator. Without a controlling system or another authority, any action could come up on the screen.

The result largely saw the main characters of the game wandering around in circles, knocking into each other, and failing to pass even the most basic of obstacles. All the conflicting directions had a dizzying effect on game play.

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The effects were then compounded when the game began to gain popularity.

Soon, the days begin to drag on with little action. Trolls also began logging into the game. They intentionally entered commands that were totally problematic and made the game almost impossible to play.

Although anarchy allowed for some accomplishments to be made. It also began to erode the quality of the game.

Trolling Anarchy In Favor Of Democracy

Fortunately, there was an alternative to anarchy for the Pokémon stream.

To combat the insanity of the anarchy, the democratic mode of operation was quickly created for the emulator. This mode chose the most popular options according to a voting system lodged within the chat function of the game.

In theory, this mode would have drawn upon the collective internet wisdom. The hive mind would then allow the best suggestions to enter into the emulator through popular vote.

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It would also thwart the trolls and remove the likelihood of detrimental moves entering gameplay.

However, enforcing democracy on the players only opened up new problems.

The Battle Between Democracy And Anarchy

Interestingly, the introduction of the democratic mode of game play did not solve many of the issues that anarchy saw. In fact, the battle between democracy and anarchy itself ended up taking over much of the game for a period of time. Democracy was still not a perfect method because it is still corruptible.

Yet, there were still plenty of players who were committed to the game itself. Rather than choosing sides, the players moved away from the Twitch chat function to communicate via other sites.

These players began using Reddit and Google Docs to organize themselves. Soon, this select group of individuals had a solid strategy for winning the game.

Determining The Winner Of The Game

There are no winners or losers in war, but there are still important lessons to learn.

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The most interesting part of the game was not the result. It was the fact that progress was still made despite all the infighting.

It was also interesting to note that both anarchy and democracy had a positive role in the game, despite the inevitable weaknesses of each position.

Whatever the result, one thing was certain. Even several years later, the showdown is still entertaining to watch and filled with surprising lessons.

Featured photo credit: Farley Santos/flickr via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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