2014 Student Research Conference:
27th Annual Student Research Conference

Twitch Plays Pokemon: Anarchy, Game Theory, and the Role of Government
Taylor S. Mulik
Dr. Candy Young, Faculty Mentor

"Twitch Plays Pokemon" is a channel on the Twitch video streaming website which runs Pokemon Gameboy games. Control of the game character is crowdsourced to the channel's viewers through the chat feed, making its behavior a common good. This lets us observe how players treat this common good without rules or outside intervention. Additionally, players can vote to instate "democracy mode," in which the character responds to what a plurality of players vote for, rather than to every command inputted. Since the players as a group can do this at will, their use of "democracy" is a form of social contract theory in action. There is also a game theory aspect, as players must act based on their expectations of other players' actions. We found that the players were successful in achieving the common goal of finishing Pokemon Red (a second game, Pokemon Crystal, is in progress).

Keywords: crowd behavior, game theory, common good, role of government, anarchy, internet culture, political philosophy

Topic(s):Political Science

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 105-1
Location: VH 1010
Time: 8:00

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