If Google Buys Twitch, You Could Play Pokemon, Final Fantasy, & Pac-Man On YouTube — We Hope
Big news for video game lovers Monday: Google is reportedly planning to buy Twitch, the hugely popular video game streaming service, for $1 billion. More specifically, YouTube is buying Twitch. Reactions to the news has been mixed — yes, Twitch will have blossomed from a $35 million-valued startup into a billion-dollar property, but it also represents yet another narrowing of competition.
Both YouTube and Twitch were vying for the same viewers, with Twitch cornering the market on video game streaming and watching. If they become one, the media consumer’s choices would dwindle that slightest bit more. But for what it’s worth, Twitch users are a curious and enthusiastic lot, and aren’t likely to let their unique, sometimes bizarre community fade away. This independent spirit was infamously demonstrated earlier this year, as players crowdsourced the playing of an entire video game, start-to-finish — Twitch Plays Pokemon.
Allowing anybody watching to input basic keyboard commands to help play the game, it quickly because a legendary internet phenomenon, a sort of frenetic social experiment that spawned countless memes. It also drew countless eyeballs — including YouTube's, apparently.
If YouTube seals the deal, and they decide to replicate that sort of chaotic communal effect what games would work? Pokemon was perfect, being an old, simplistically-controlled game — Mario Kart et al would be completely unplayable by remote, crowd-sourced input.
But there are a few classics that could be fun, we bet. Here’s five gaming classics Twitch could play next...
1. Pac-Man (Arcade, 1980)
The arcade classic revered by old-time players, challenge-seekers, and fans of frustration alike, to see hundreds or thousands of people all try to play Pac-Man at once would be a joyfully chaotic scene. More likely than not, the sound you'll be hearing a lot is this:
The tantalizing question remains, though — how long can they keep Pac-Man alive? Ten seconds? Fifteen? Thirty? Even clearing the first level would feel like an achievement of staggering proportions.
2. Space Invaders (Arcade, 1978)
Space Invaders can be a pretty frustrating game on it’s own, dependent as it is on sharp reflexes, and thinking preemptively how best to manage the ever-increasing tide of would-be alien oppressors. All of which, obviously, goes right out the door when you’ve got thousands of people punching the keys all at once.
This isn’t a long grind like Pokemon was, but a series of rapid-fire starts and stops, minor victories and sweeping failures. Which is to say, it’s be hilarious to watch. How high a score could they get?
3. Final Fantasy VI (Super Nintendo, 1994)
A game actually well-suited to the task, for the same reasons Pokemon was — the Final Fantasy games of the late-80s and early-90s were intricate, plot driven and vastly more ambitious, but also, at core, they’re turn-based Role-Playing Games, absent the constant need for rapid reactions.
It would still be a damnably hard challenge, though, with some potentially catastrophic pitfalls, but isn’t that what we’re watching for? Arguably considered the finest Final Fantasy game ever made, the sixth installment would be fun to see.
4. Missile Command (Arcade, 1980)
Another high-score arcade classic, controlled so simply with just three necessary commands — swivel your missile turrets left, or right, then press the button to fire on the rain of enemy missile’s falling from the sky. But aiming, and predicting the trajectory of the enemy missiles is absolutely paramount. Which is to say, this one would be fun to watch. Like Pac-Man and Space Invaders, the question wouldn’t be whether the game could be beaten — just how long everyone could collectively hold things together.
5. More Pokemon, Obviously!
The thing is, we’re nowhere close to being out of Pokemon games, either. The anonymous programmer who devised Twitch Plays Pokemon in the first place has kept his stream going long after the first game, Pokemon Red, was completed, following up with Pokemon Crystal, Pokemon Platinum, Pokemon Emerald, and Pokemon FireRed.
The subsequent streams have been just as enjoyable, if not quite as famed as the first foray. As long as interest persists, the ro intends to keep it rolling.
Image: Twitch; Nintendo