Streamer Pointcrow has won gold for conceiving of the daftest way to play Elden Ring. FromSoft's magnum opus is an open world of exceptional scale and grandeur, a majestic achievement in the fantasy genre and PCG's game of the year in 2022. Pointcrow has engineered a setup whereby this feat of human imagination and engineering can be played by a goldfish (first spotted by GamesRadar+).
It's Pointcrow's own pet goldfish, which goes by the name of Tortellini. To deal with the elephant in the room before we get onto the fish, it clearly cannot be said that Tortellini is 'playing' Elden Ring in any meaningful way. Sorry to say this but goldfish are not noted for their brains, personality, memory, or twitch reflexes.
Instead think of Tortellini as something of an accidental conductor. Pointcrow has, by temporarily emptying the tank of unnecessary visual distractions, linked up Tortellini's movements to a grid that maps them and, depending on the fish's position in the tank, triggers a control input or a sequence of control inputs. So Tortellini swims, and the Tarnished swings.
Pah, what's a goldfish going to do against Malenia, I hear you scoff. Well better than a lot of us, it turns out. Pointcrow's done a couple of streams over recent days showcasing the fish's progress, the full VODs are on Twitch, and it has now somehow managed to beat Malenia's first phase.
my goldfish beat the first phase of malenia LMAO pic.twitter.com/d0FD6jHg0UJuly 4, 2023
I mean, the fish did better than I did. The big question here is how automated the whole setup is, and whether what we're seeing is really the fish's random movements translating into the on-screen action, or whether there's a whole other layer of automation stitching together the prompts into useful pre-defined sets of commands. Pointcrow's own explanation is a little fuzzy, though he does promise a video explaining the setup soon.
Beating Elden Ring in bizarre ways has almost become the metagame. The goldfish joins a long list of bonkers challenges, including the woman who beat Elden Ring with her mind, a dude whacking demigods via the medium of a Bop-It, someone strumming Margit to death with an acoustic guitar, and someone taking out Malenia at soul level 1 with a goddamn dance pad. What's next, fleas?