• Published 8th Jul 2014
  • 5,273 Views, 165 Comments

Twitch Plays Equestria Online - NuclearPony

With Equestria Online being the most popular game around it was only a matter of time until someone did something really stupid with it.

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Day 1, Hour One

Twitch Plays Equestria Online

Part 2

I concentrated on slowing my breathing through the same meditative techniques I used before big tournaments. The moment was nearly here when this experiment would either take off or plummet and although I had never been interested enough in owning a pony pad of my own I was most certainly one hundred percent invested in making this play through a success.

I'd managed to buy one of the older models, a purple one with a controller. While most argued in favor of the touch screen my camera setup wouldn't allow it. In order for my twitch followers both new and old to follow along and make suggestions they would need to be able to see the game. For that I'd setup a camera just below the pony pad screen to record and stream my game play live.

Sitting beside me on my 'work' desk was a hand me down alienware labtop a pro gamer friend had lended me a while back. On its screen was three windows, one being the chat window for my live stream and another being the video feed that when I started in a few minutes would broadcast my experience to all my viewers.

The final open window was the key to making this all work. I'd set up a chat system that would allow viewers to make suggestions as to what I should do in the game, every five minutes I would look over and have a new randomly picked suggestion pop up from one of the viewers. Everyone could make four suggestions per hour but priority would be given to suggestions from viewers who had made a donation that day.

That was the key monetizing this. I'd already posted the details online across Twitch and several other major gaming news sites last night, the hope being that I could attract a large enough viewer base that I would have a constant stream of donations flooding in by people hoping to get the chance to make a suggestion and see it happen live. If that was the case I fully intended to ride this for a long as I could make a profit from it. I'd cleared my schedule for the entire next week, announcing my intent to stream at least twelve hours a day everyday until donations dropped below a minimum threshold where it wouldn't be worth my time to continue the stream.

I'd expected some response certainly, but my breath had been taken away half an hour ago when I'd turned on my computer to find one hundred thousand viewers already waiting for the stream to start.

That number had grown.

I knew I had a large viewer base already from all of my other stuff and there would almost certainly be word of mouth increasing the numbers even more in the next few days. Still, this was starting to get intimidating. I'd played in front of huge live crowds when I'd flown to Korea for tournaments but that was only ever for a couple days. I'd committed to doing this for at least an entire week...

I breathed slowly again and pushed the doubts about this plan out of my head, reminding myself of another core principle of strategy. A poorly thought out plan executed swiftly and with vigor is always better than a perfect plan executed in a hesitating and timid fashion.

A smile graced my face as I knew I had this now. My name is Arthur Swift, grand master level player of both Chess and Starcraft, poker player of some renown and a black belt in two martial arts even if I hadn't won a first place trophy since my teens. It was going to take more than some pretty pony princess game to intimidate me.

With a grin I jabbed at a button on my labtop to start the stream right on the second it was scheduled to start. "Hello watchers both new and old! If you've followed the Starcraft pro circuit at all you know me as Plaid Zergling, for everyone else who is new to this channel you can call me Arthur and just know that I play strategy games for a living. There will be no spastic screaming or gimmicks that other lets players are prone too, just good solid skill and an eye for how to have fun in inventive ways." I smiled my best crowd smile even though the camera was just showing the Pony pad startup screen for the moment.

"And you my fair viewers are the ones who get to decide exactly how we will be having fun today while we play the Pony Pad from Hofvarpnir Studios! Thats right I am NOT in the drivers seat of this adventure, my job is to carry out what YOU fine people want me to do." I grabbed the controller and left the startup screen for the character creator. "So with no further ado lets get this show on the road! The first suggestion we will be taking is what kind of character should I make? Who is our lucky twitch viewer who will get the honor of kicking this endeavor off with an idea for a character?" I asked, sounding pumped up but honestly unable to care either way. I think there was unicorns or something as an option?

I waited with bated breath, hoping that the suggestion system would hold up to its first test and not fail immediately. When a soft bell chime sounded I breathed a sigh of relief and read the suggestion sent in... by a donator!

I laughed aloud as I read. "Okay! First suggestion comes from viewer TLnRDForLife, thank you so much for that twenty dollar donation! It appears my character is going to be a zebra alicorn with pink stripes and butterfly wings. Alright well lets get going and see if we can make this character in five minutes. Bearing in mind I have never seen the show at all so can someone in chat explain to me what an alicorn is?" Using the controller I started to flip through the species available, looking for something listed as an alicorn.

I hadn't even gotten a couple seconds into that when the screen faded to black. I recoiled away from the screen, feeling genuinely taken aback. From what I had heard these pony pads weren't supposed to be able to fail. Yet it had just black screened on me not even a minute into my stream?

I was just about to turn and say something to my stream viewers about technical difficulties when the screen faded back in again, showing a white unicorn with wings and a shimmering mane. I think I'd heard about her before, Celestia the 'game master' character for the pony pad.

I glanced at the chat and noticed the shock the viewers were expressing. This was apparently something new not seen in any of the Lets plays people had watched elsewhere. Celestia looked PISSED. "Really? You're really going through with this?" She hissed in a low threatening tone.

After a few seconds I shook myself and realized that had been directed straight at me. The player. Arthur.

Very well, first blood to you Celestia. I thought as my mind kicked back into gear and shook off her intimidating gaze. I've been up against more threatening opponents who didn't have cute, shimmering hair like yours and won in the long run after set backs at the start. Speaking with enthusiasm again I nodded and tightened my grip on my controller.

"Yes I am! Its a pleasure to meet you Celestia, in fact you are just the person I was hoping to talk too. I might need some help to create the character my audience wants."

Celestia's jaw dropped as she stared at me through the screen. "You... you do realize you can only create one character right? That THIS will be YOUR character? If you ever wish to play Equestria online at ANY point in the future it will have to be with THIS character? That there are no rerolls?"

I nodded, not deterred at all. "Of course! It hardly matters to me what kind of silly custom skin I'm wearing while I play a game as long as the game is fun and a stimulating enough challenge." And it was certainly true enough. Even ignoring my lack of enthusiasm for all things my little pony, if I were to play the game again it would be for the quality of the core gameplay, not the quality of the character creation screen.

The white Princess Pony on the screen stared at me and I just stared back. The silence stretched on and I felt an irrational, primal urge to ignore my chat and just stare straight into those eyes. One of us was going to blink first and it wasn't going to be me.

"... Fine. Fine! You know what? What the buck ever!" Celestia threw her hooves in the air as though wishing she had a table in front of her to flip. She stood up and walked closer to the screen and I could see there was a pink striped Zebra mare standing there. With exaggerated deliberation Celestia reached behind her and pulled out a couple pieces of cardboard on strings from the vicinity of her mane, snapping the cardboard wings and horn onto my characters head and chest. The chat was rolling in laughter as Celestia leaned in with an insincere and belligerent smile on her face. "You're a pretty pony princess now! Is it everything you ever wanted?"

I stuck my tongue out at the screen(noticing my character doing the same to Celestia) and then looked at the first suggestion I had gotten again. "Uhh... Zebra Alicorn with pink stripes. If an alicorn means having wings and a horn then its close enough I guess, my five minutes is just about up anyway."

I replied with a smile, enjoying the shudder of revulsion that coursed across Celestias frame as she fought to keep the smile pasted on. "Very well. And because taking the time to do something well is obviously beneath you when you can instead just do it fast lets dub thee Speed Runner." With that she finally let her smile fall so that she could facehoof with both fore hooves. "Will there be anything else Speed Runner?"

The bell chime alerted me that five minutes had passed and I had a new suggestion. Also from a donator! "Yes actually! OrthopedicGoatSimulator just donated fifty dollars and wants me to brush your mane." On an impulse I pressed the second button on the controller and pressed back, thinking about pulling a brush from out of my mane as that seemed to be where these ponies who didn't have pockets stored stuff. The game read my intentions pretty well, just as I had been led to believe it would and with a smile my character stepped forward with brush gripped in her teeth towards the defeated looking Celestia.

Celestia just sat there and kept her face planted in her hooves. That mane of hers was actually really fun to brush! It was flowing as though blowing in an invisible wind and had more colors in it than I could catalog in so short an amount of time as five minutes. With my character almost enveloped in that mane there was rainbow colored light spilling out of the pony pad and all across my room. I was actually going to regret it when the time for this was up.

But all good things must come to an end and with a few minutes time came the sound of a bell. I looked at the suggestion screen and realized things were about to get serious, no more horsing around. For five dollars, viewer JustinKrieger wanted me to jump through a stain glass window.

With a few button presses I set the brush aside, imagining I heard a disappointed sound come from Celestia as the brush left her mane. Looking around I saw this was indeed the kind of throne room that came equipped with stained glass windows.

Propelling my character to the maximum speed she could attain in so short a gallop I felt my body tense as she leapt and crashed through the nearest stained glass window. Behind which it appeared was thirty feet of air before a flower bed would rush up to meet me.

Without consciously thinking about it I was pressing buttons frantically and relying on the game to infer my thought process, my character tucked her legs in, keeping an eye on the ground as she spun through the air until at the last second she snapped her legs back out, landing on her rear legs and letting them collapse almost immediately so that she rolled forward onto her shoulder, absorbing as much shock as possible away from the spine. My character rolled head over hooves a few more times before crashing into the side of a water fountain.

I winced in sympathy with the... with 'my' character as she let out an "Ouch." I wasn't looking forward to too many commands like that but for this social experiment to work it was important to establish early on that this was the Audiences game to play, not mine. If they said jump it wasn't until my feet or hooves were off the ground that I would have time to ask how high.

"Well. On the plus side that was a pretty easy to suggestion to fulfill. I've still got more than four minutes before the next one. More than enough time to stop and smell the roses." I said, feeling odd as the feminine sound of my characters voice overrode mine. Repeating my words as though it had been me in that body performing for a twitch audience instead of me in my living room playing on a pony pad.

I shook my head to clear it and my character did the same, still looking dazed from her fall into the soft flower bed. Maybe I would stop and smell some roses after all, even if the pony pad couldn't provide smell my character would still appreciate it. And I was starting to feel a bit guilty as I thought about the hell I was about to put her through.


Brushy Brushy: Brush a ponies mane. ("I love it when you brush my mane.")

Pony Creator Abomination: Make regrettable design decisions with your one and only body. ("This is a travesty of fashion!")

Angry God: Find a way to piss off CelestAI. ("Oh sure, its the twitch channel playing rather than you. So I'll just have to satisfy the values of one hundred thousand unique and rather abusive human beings through only one pony. How hard could that possibly be?!...")