A programmer on Twitter has created a method for users to play Pokémon Red without closing the Twitter app or leaving the website. That said, it does require a fair amount of refreshing to actively view what is happening in the game. Twitter Plays Pokémon is, in effect, a rare instance of players enjoying a game at four frames per minute.
Players collectively control the game by replying to a tweet that says, “comment one of those buttons on this tweet: Up, Down, Left, Right, A, B, Start, Select.” Every fifteen seconds a program looks at the comments and registers the most popular button as an input for the game. According to further instruction, button inputs need to be followed by a space and another word that isn’t one of the listed buttons. Last I looked, the player character was locked in a heated encounter with what would appear to be his greatest rival—a corner.
This activity is reminiscent of the Twitch Plays Pokémon social experiment from 2014, which used crowdsourced inputs from a Twitch chat to navigate Pokémon Red. Users can still work their way through Pokémon games on the Twitch Plays Pokémon channel, but the entire concept has spawned a series of novel twists, inversions, and stories that, much like this Twitter thread, can suddenly garner more attention than the channel can these days. One variation of Twitch Plays Pokémon even proved that a group of goldfish could beat three different Pokémon games if given enough time.
Unusual inputs aren’t unusual for the series. Pokémon Sleep is a game meant to allow users to play Pokémon by sleeping. Pokémon Smile is a game that is played by brushing your teeth. Of course, there are many other ways to incorporate Pokémon into everyday activities.