Twitch wasn't content to publish its 2016 year in review as a simple blog post. Instead, the company turned the information into what can best be described as a pseudo-game that tasks players with driving along an empty highway in search of the report's missing pages. It's certainly...unique.
Nobody's going to write home about the game itself. The car moves along a fixed horizontal plane with the arrow keys, and along the way, billboards offer interesting bits of information. Eventually, the car drives into a treasure chest--we don't know about you, but that's certainly our preferred way to open valuable containers--and some more statistics are offered on a purple background. Is it neat? Sure. Will anyone really enjoy the experience? Meh.
But the information within the game-slash-report is noteworthy. Twitch said its service had a record number of viewers, that more than a million people started free Twitch Prime subscriptions, and that the AutoMod audience management tool is active on 10% of channels, among other things. That's a good year for the company, which was acquired by Amazon in 2014, and it shows that competitors haven't knocked it off the game streaming throne.
"2016 saw the Twitch community set record levels of viewership and streaming," Twitch said. "You streamed, chatted, watched, and cheered more than ever before. So pat yourself on the back and click through to learn more."
And, sure, the "game" itself is chock full of references to actual titles. Super Mario's fire flowers dot the countryside, Sonic the Hedgehog's loop-the-loops make an appearance, and the infamous "press a button to pay respects" from Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is crossed with an apparent nod to Oregon Trail. If nothing else, the effort that went into making what feels like an honest tribute to gaming culture shows that Amazon didn't kink Twitch's style.
Oh, and word to the wise: let go of the arrow key as soon as the papers appear. The key will also scroll through the actual year in review text, and the only way to see it again is to replay the game. It's cute, but it ain't that cute, and it'd be nice to be able to look back at already revealed information.