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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 July 8, 2020

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

1. Understand Yourself Better

Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

2. Keep Track of Small Changes

I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

3. Become Aware of What Matters

As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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4. Boost Creativity

The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

6. Process Life Experiences

When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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7. Stress Relief

In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

8. Provide Direction

Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

9. Solve Problems

Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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10. Find Relief From Fighting

Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

11. Find Meaning in Life

Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

12. Allow Yourself to Focus

Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

14. Let the Past Go

I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

15. Allow Freedom

Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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16. Enhance Your Career

Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

18. Catalog Your Life for Others

No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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