Put down the phone. Pick up your kids later. There is a fish playing Pokémon on the Internet. That’s right. A goddamn fish is playing Pokémon. Grayson is the most famous fish on the Internet since the Fukushima sushi.
Basically, Twitch TV is doing a thing again. Last time we had the mythical odyssey of Red, commanded by the voices channeled through the sacred vessel; the Helix Fossil (praise thee Helix). Now it’s a fish. A fish who swims in a bowl tricked out with all the Gameboy buttons which direct Red into, most often, a wall or nowhere useful what-so-ever.
What does this mean for the Internet then? This humble writer would say that either the the standards of entertainment are going down, or they’re getting weirder. I’d say primarily the latter, but still a little bit of both.
We now take a moment to understand what it took to be captivating on the Internet. So I’ll just reference a few examples from my own experience:
One of the most well-to-do Internet fads was the tale of Leeroy Jenkins, the paladin who blew it all. To those unfamiliar with the story, Leeroy Jenkins is AFK (away from keyboard) during an elaborate explanation of an encounter within a World of Warcraft dungeon. Leeroy misses all this pertinent info and runs gung-ho into the room and brings the demise (or wipe) of his party. The gimmick which brought Leeroy fame was irony. Anyone who has run through Blackrock Spire would know that the whelp room where the wipe happened is pretty damn easy and that Leeroy (along with his guild-mates) were involved in a deliberate comedy.
Jumping ahead: to earlier this year’s Twitch Plays Pokémon. There the following became interactive. Players hopelessly typed commands to guide Red through the content of Pokémon Red. They beat it. Thousands of people managed to get together and whilst enduring the trolling of interlopers. Twitch Plays Pokémon was seen to the end of Victory Road and the defeat of rival Gary. Twitch Plays Pokémon taught us to work together even when times got tough. We as an Internet community, learned that it’s okay to stay up through the wee hours of the night in order to beat the high online traffic and watch Red type direction-commands repeatedly and walk off cliffs. We learned that you can still have tens-of-thousands of chefs in the kitchen and still make an omelet (albeit it’ll take you sixteen days).
So what do we learn from Fish Plays Pokémon? What do we gain? Well I just watched Grayson beat a Rattata with AAAABBK the Charmander, so maybe a little hope? Or perhaps we’re just running out of ideas and buying into this lack of wit. Is a fish playing Pokémon really viable entertainment? It’s definitely funny the first time I heard about it but as I sit and watch the fish sleep while thousands of viewers anticipate its every move… I question what this may lead to.
None the less. May the Helix guide your way, Grayson the fish.