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Going Hollow: Twitch Plays Dark Souls

haha come on now, they'll never even reach Artorias

The story of King Canute setting his throne down on the shore and commanding the tide to turn back and not wet his flip-flops is often now referenced as arrogance, when really he was well aware that the waves would knock down his sandcastle and carry away his ball. Sometimes we attempt things to prove we can’t do them.

Almost definitely inspired by Canute (and, sure, Twitch Plays Pokémon too), a new experiment in controlling a game through commands issued by Twitch livestream viewers has chosen a surely-impossible challenge: Dark Souls [official site]. After three days, the thousands of ‘helpers’ are still in the Undead Asylum.

The stream, sensibly named Can twitch play Dark Souls?, is perhaps roleplaying turning Hollow, losing its mind and eternally running back and forth, diving into walls, and chugging from the Estus flask.

It’s controlled by text commands players type into the Twitch chat, which is a bit of a mess given that Twitch streams can have a broadcast delay of 15, 30, 60 seconds. People are telling characters what they should have done 20 seconds ago, basically. It has the option to either follow every command players give or to follow the most popular command every few seconds, but either way it’s a mess. Players can also vote to enable and disable the game’s menu, which is sensible given how long I’ve seen it flick through the inventory.

As I understand it, players took forever to even create a character. Later, they deleted that character and started over. Oh dear. In the two hours I had the stream open in a tab this morning, they managed to climb a ladder into the courtyard with the gates to the Asylum Demon but didn’t get anywhere near opening them. I’m impressed that they evidently managed to get the Estus on an earlier life, though.

The classic Twitch Plays Pokémon worked (eventually) because turn-based combat is comparatively forgiving and even a thousand fools can eventually grind enough to win. Beating Dark Souls is closer to an ‘infinite monkeys’ scenario.

Apologies if this autoplays – Twitch’s embed can be a real git:

Watch live video from TwitchPlaysDark on www.twitch.tv

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Alice O'Connor

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When not writing news, Alice may be found in the sea.

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