The Helix Fossil Mythos - The Lore of Twitch Plays Pokémon
This year saw the evolution of the Helix Fossil from “that one fossil in the original Pokémon games that wasn’t Kabutops” to an almighty god guiding the main character to victory and it was all thanks to Twitch Plays Pokémon. This social experiment, where thousands of Twitch.tv users work together to beat Pokémon games by inputting commands in the text chat, still continues to this day where they have made it all the way to the Nintendo DS game Pokémon Platinum (where they released the starter not even a full day into the game. Helix, help us.) What’s interesting, however, is how the “lore” of Twitch Plays Pokémon has evolved from memes to complex stories weaved together by fan artists.
The Original Lore: ALL PRAISE THE HELIX FOSSIL
When the social experiment began in February of this year, there was no lore. It was just people trying to, and at times failing miserably, to play Pokémon Red Version. As time progressed, repeated accidents were jokingly given meaning. For example, the mob (a common name for the Twitch Plays Pokémon players) would make a bad habit of accidentally trying to use the Helix Fossil item in battle despite it not having any use. This lead to the Helix Fossil being raised up as a God, with jokes of “WE MUST CONSULT THE HELIX FOSSIL” regularly appearing in the Twitch chat. A Pidgey, which eventually became a Pidgeot, rose up to become Bird Jesus after he won a lot of fights. Plus his nickname was a random bunch of letters which just happened to have “b”, “j”, and “s” in it so it fit.
These jokes became connected into a sort of mythology. Lord Helix, the eventual Omastar who slept in the Helix Fossil, was using the mob to guide the main character (Red) to become the champion. Lord Helix’s followers included the aforementioned Bird Jesus as well as a Zapdos sometimes known as Battery Jesus or John the Zaptist. An Eevee that the mob turned into a Flareon while arguing over whether they wanted to make it a Vaporeon or Jolteon was considered a false prophet until it’s eventual accidental release where some decided he was actually a follower of Lord Helix that was set up by the evil Dome Fossil. Even after Twitch Plays Pokémon Red ended this set of lore is the most well known.
No Kings, No Gods, Only ‘Mon
After they beat Red, it was announced by the anonymous individual running the experiment announced that they’d go to the next generation with Pokémon Crystal next. Unlike with the original TPP, where no lore existed, we lived in a world where “ALL PRAISE THE HELIX FOSSIL” was a thing. So at first, people tried to apply old jokes to new items. A Pokémon egg was treated as the new Helix Fossil until it hatched into Togepi at which point it was known as Prince Omelette. When the mob caught a new Pidgey they argued over whether it was the second coming of Bird Jesus. However, a lot of people became bored of these jokes as many of them were just rehashes of old ones and a lot of these didn’t stick.
However, about halfway through the run, many events happened which changed the shape of the lore. Prince Omelette was released into the wild, as well as another beloved character in the form of a Sentret sometimes referred to as the Admiral. Since releasing Pokémon has become the TPP equivalent of killing them off, this greatly reduced morale. Furthermore, a rather loud segment of the mob voiced the opinion that their starter Pokémon, a Feraligatr named LazorGator, was too powerful and should be released to make the game more difficult and more interesting. Between these rising tensions as well as the shoehorning of Pidgeot and an Eevee into the roles of Bird Jesus and the False Prophet, the lore soon became rather meta and turned everything on its head. It was decided that the Pidgeot was not in fact Bird Jesus but just Brian, an ordinary Pidgeot trying to fly out of the large shadow of the original. And LazorGator, having lost his friends the Colonel and Prince Omelette, was leading a charge against the old gods including Lord Helix himself. This lead perfectly into the final battle. As many know, in the original versions of Gold, Silver, and Crystal (as well as the Gold and Silver remakes), the final bonus boss is none other than the original player character, Red. However, the mob did not realize that the streamer had actually hacked into this version and given Red the championship team of the original TPP run. LazorGator and his companions triumphed over Lord Helix and Bird Jesus, and peace was restored to the Twitch Plays Pokémon universe. However, lore had slowly been building up a new antagonist in the wings. Ever since Twitch Plays Pokémon Red, the greatest enemy was the PC which could release Pokémon forever. So logically, the ultimate enemy that had yet to be defeated was the man who programmed it, Bill.
Twitch Plays Pokémon Gets Turned Up-Start-Down
Twitch Plays Pokémon had successfully conquered the first two generations of Pokémon and so it made sense to continue to the third. Pokémon Emerald started off with a huge debacle. The game was restarted a great number of times by the mob who were fighting over whether they wanted a male or female protagonist. It ended up with a female character named “A”. People on the Twitch Plays Pokémon subreddit immediately came up with theories that A had killed the other protagonists, or that they had died and were haunting A. This has lead into a lot of arguments, and as such Twitch Plays Pokémon Emerald claims the dubious distinction of being the first run where there isn’t a complete agreement on what the exact lore is, which would only increase in the next game. The mob did manage to form a consensus that A’s team is a police team known as… The A Team, and that aside from the potentially unhinged (or at least slightly chaotic) A they are a force for good. They managed to beat the game in a much longer time than it took either of the previous ones, but that’s when Bill made his move.
It’s not sure what, in the lore, happened to cause the Twitch Plays Pokémon Fire Red run. Many claim that the randomizer was used by Bill to become a god. Others claim he used it to create an artificial world for his sick daughter to play in. Some people think it’s an alternate universe that Bill visited. Regardless, the Fire Red run was the result of the anonymous individual behind TPP using a randomizing program to change the starters, which Pokémon people used, what moves Pokémon learned, and many other things. This lead to such strange occurrences as monsters with no arms punching people and insects shooting out giant laser beams. This strange experience had lead to the female protagonist who also happened to be named A, who was originally theorized to be the same individual from the last game but has since generally been accepted as her own person, to be called Alice a la Alice in Wonderland. This run, much like the strangeness of the universe, caused some odd lore. A Zigzagoon that was released on the first day and was the sole casualty was agreed to be a spy for Bill who was completely incapable but adorably so. Alice chose the Dome Fossil instead of the beloved Helix Fossil, but it was okay because the Pokémon occupying the Fossil ended up being randomized and was just a run-of-the-mill Ariados. The run also saw the rise and fall of the Commeownist leader Meow Zedong (a Skitty), who was succeeded by a Slaking (Stalinking) who unlike in non-randomized games did not have a detrimental ability and thus was able to run through many teams including the Champion. Also they managed to trade a Nidoran for a MEW named Marc (often called Karl Marc to keep with the Commeownist theme.) Although Bill can never be truly fought, since he’s no longer the main PC system operator it’s been agreed upon that Alice has at least set back his plans until the confirmed randomized Johto remake run.
Although it’s too early in Pokémon Platinum to decide what the lore is, we do know a few things. The new male protagonist, nqpppnl, has been given the names “Napoleon” and not so affectionately “Nipples”. The rival’s name is the default Pearl, but he nearly was named “AZ” which coincidentally is also the name of a major character in Pokémon X/Y. Also, Cyrus has been lurking in the background of the subreddit since after Fire Red was beaten, so lore might shape him up to still be the major antagonist if they don’t switch to Bill’s Sinnoh equivalent, Bebe. Regardless, with Napoleon’s Chimchar already a casualty the results are sure to be utter anarchy (democracy anarchy anarchy up down anarchy).