On February 12th 2014, a social experiment rapidly grew into something far beyond its initial scope. The concept was this: Give thousands of anonymous individuals control of a 90s JRPG, and see what happens. Surely the process if not the result would be worth seeing.
Using Twitch, a video streaming website, everyone watching the stream of a Pokemon Red game became able to affect the game by inputting commands into the chatbox. Commands were parsed into an emulator (up, down, B, etc.). Gameplay could only be expected to be difficult, but the by-products of the experiment – which should have been expected – were surprising.
This document, found three decades after the event took place, was compiled from research and investigation performed by brave souls into this fanatic cult-turned-official religion soon after its conception.
Various elements from the game obtained status similar to that of idols fairly quickly. The erratic customized naming of Pokemon gave rise to affectionate and universally accepted nicknames such as Abby (ABBBBBBK) and Jay Leno (JLVWNNOOOO). The game’s special items and finds, such as fossils and special evolution stones, were similarly praised as where the Pokemon that performed best in battles. No one, however, anticipated the rise of the Helix Fossil’s popularity and the religion that was created subsequently.
In-game, the Helix Fossil was used to revive the Pokemon Omanyte. In reality, this item swiftly became the object of worship by many Twitch players. Thus became the advent of Helixianism, and what began as something of an ironic joke evolved into something far beyond the original scope of ‘Twitch Plays Pokemon.’
Within months, the Helix Fossil group was granted tax-exempt status as an official religion. With at least 20.3 million adherents gathered in the span of several months, there was little choice but to acknowledge the harebrained following as an official body of worship.
On the specifics of the group’s faith, Twinfinite’s Kate Balding and Claudia Lorenzo conducted extensive research into ancient documents, along with interviews with the faithful. “Helix Fossilians officially cite the Pokedex as their religious text, or ‘scripture’,” Kate wrote. Without a doubt, the compendium and record of Pokemon would be foremost amongst the works held sacred by the body.
An actual Pokedex was first ‘discovered’ many years prior to the formation of the Helix Fossil religion. It has since been updated as more information comes to light regarding the canonical scriptures within, mostly in the form of additions.
Claudia was able to discover more about their current practices from her discovery of some old records pertaining to the cult’s early days.
“Helix Fossil followers share most core beliefs, though there are denominations. Interestingly enough, the denominations are based on systems of politics between ‘anarchy’ and ‘democracy’. The anarchists frequently preach about ‘releasing the almighty bird’ while the democracy advocates are often frustrated and can be seen consulting the almighty fossil for guidance multiple times a day.”
The concept of democracy and anarchy were puzzling, to say the least. The actions taken under democracy are no doubt coupled with thought and majority opinion, but the results created by anarchy couldn’t be denied. It was recorded, with many eyewitness accounts, that a legendary Pokemon was captured whilst in the throes of anarchy, a feat thought impossible.
“Upon the return of his Lordship, the Omanyte will bless the lands with the rarest of candies from above, and rapture will ensue,” Alex reported. Sharon also discovered that, “Followers will often chant, ending with the traditional ‘Oman(yte)’.” While the similarities to the Christian’s Book of Revelations are obvious, it is not yet clear whether Helixianism “borrowed” the concept of rapture or whether it was discovered in their canonical scriptures.
And indeed, Omanyte did grace the Helixianism faith with his presence upon the path to the game’s completion. Amidst the sacrifices of many, his return served only to prove the ways of Helixianism.
Those sacrifices have since been grouped together in what is now referred to as “Bloody Sunday,” a day during which many Pokemon were “released” into the “wilds,” an act synonymous with dying and the afterlife respectively in the fanatical religion.
It is uncertain how Helixianism will grow in the coming decades, having survived this long out of a social experiment gone horribly wrong. Relatively long-established religions have ceased their scoffing and denouncing of the faith, awed by its perseverance into the modern day. As of this writing, the records of the conclusion of the experiment itself are still being restored. We can only hope that soon the truth of what happened during the dawn of Helixianism will soon be revealed….