If you think finishing a Pokémon game takes a long time, try playing one as a pet fish. That’s exactly what one pet fish in Japan is doing.
Mutekimaru Channel is tracking fish Mutekimaru (aka Maurice) as it makes its way through Pokémon Ruby. As Soranews notes, the fish is obviously not aware it is playing a video game. The fish’s owner created a grid in Mutekimaru’s tank, designating quadrants to up-down, left-right arrows as well as A and B—though, the layout is sometimes tinkered with. The owner also installed a tracking camera and a circuit board to input the fish’s movements so Mutekimaru could “play” the game.
The goal is for Mutekimaru to eventually clear the game. This kind of thing isn’t new: Kotaku reported back in 2014 that a fish has already played Pokémon, using a similar technique.
The owner toggled through the first minute and 45 seconds of introductory text, but after that, the fish starts making its way through the game. So, as Soranews points out, one of the first things players need to do is go to their house and set a clock. This took Mutekimaru 35 minutes. The next task was to visit the neighbor and greet the kid on the second floor. This, however, took Mutekimaru 19 hours and ten minutes. It took the fish another 59 hours to make its way out into the field to catch Pocket Monsters.
During random battles, Mutekimaru often would run away, which Soranews points out, is probably due to the game’s interface because attack is a two-step process while running away is only a single-step one—and is, thus, much easier for a fish to initiate! However, for a fish, Mutekimaru did pretty good and even captured a handful of Pokémon, including a Nincada, a Taillow, a Whismur, and trio of Zigzagoons.
So far, the fish has logged over 676 hours in Pokémon Ruby, and has even nabbed two gym badges. Not bad for a fish!