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Google+ has a very cool feature known as Google Hangouts that works very much like a Skype call. You can talk face-to-face with another person, two other people, or a team of dozens. This led to a bunch of friends gathering into a call to play Pokémon together. With Google Hangouts, members in the call can stream their own screen of themselves playing whatever game, or they can just sit around and watch others. This led to interesting challenges such as speed runs against one another with co-commentary, with comments from a small audience (such as Mekkah telling you how stupid you are or DHR-107 soothing you with his brilliant British voice). Whether or not you're already a member of the Orange Islands, Hangouts are the place to be.
Long ago, there was a great man named Taylor who dabbled quietly in the Orange Islands. Taylor made a thread about how he loved to speed run and how he wanted to challenge others to a race. His idea was to gather up a bunch of members on Skype and play through a game. Unfortunately, the idea never got big until a thread was posted later called Orange Islands Plays. It was designed as a large Let's Play for the members of Orange Islands, and it was great except for the fact that Skype only allows one screen to share at a time. With that setback, we moved to Google+ and found our home. Now we have several members all sharing screens at once in a race to become the champion of the Orange Islands. But Orange Island Hangouts don't end there. Even when we're not playing against each other, we often go to chat and watch one person record their Scramble Challange (Scramblers, even Microsoft Word is trying to fix the typo...) or Let's Plays.
The very first official Orange Islands Hangout was held when Mekkah and Stellar decided they would face off in a no-starter speed run of Pokémon Sapphire. Several others (including myself) joined in the race, but no one came close to Mekkah and Stellar's times.
Essentially, the plan for both Stellar and Mekkah was to get to Kyogre as fast as possible, and once you received Kyogre it was smooth sailing to the end of the game. Stellar started off by grabbing a Wingull on the first route in order to act as his replacement Mudkip. This meant that later on in the game he wouldn't have to catch another Pokémon to learn Surf, not to mention Wingull gets early Water Gun, which is incredibly helpful. Unfortunately, once Stellar got to Roxanne, he realized a small problem. Wingull wasn't strong enough to get rid of Roxanne's Nosepass. He'd die to a Rock Tomb before he could kill it. This was where Mekkah was able to gain a considerable amount of ground on him by using a Shroomish to get through the first Gym with ease. Stellar eventually critted through the Nosepass, saving him upwards of 15-20 minutes trying to take down Roxanne.
The second Gym Leader, Brawly, also caused a split between strategies. Stellar had a Wingull so that he could easily destroy the Fighting-type leader, but Mekkah was stuck. He came up with the ingenious idea to catch a Sableye in the cave near the Gym and he won simply because Brawly couldn't touch him. In this cave, both players caught a Geodude to help them through the Mauville Gym. At this point, the game was fairly even and both players did relatively the same thing except for several small miscues. Yes Mekkah, you do, in fact, need Strength to beat Pokémon Sapphire.
The end result of this race was Stellar coming in at 4:09 and Mekkah coming in sometime behind at 4:59 after being stomped repeatedly by Archie. With this race, an era of Google+ Hangouts was born. Other Hangouts were not as well-documented and only slightly remembered, but they played out in a similar way to this one. Often with even better mishaps, like when celever challenged Mekkah in Pokémon Crystal and then got lost, or when several people were playing on randomizers while Layell attempted to watch TV using the stream.
Hangouts today are not only centered around playing games with each other, but also just hanging around and talking. Often hangouts are spent with friends talking about things that have nothing to do with Pokémon. One of our recent hangouts involved the decline from playing Pokémon Crystal all the way through reading Smog articles together, finally ending up talking about scantily-clad female characters and having Kadew rage about how the female characters in Pokémon never actually wear pants. Jimera0 quickly takes her side and we find out about his vast knowledge in the field of women's fashion, something we expected in part, but was just a rumor until now. All in all, it's a great time.
So whether or not you're actually a part of the Orange Islands, you can come visit us any time and play games. We offer you not only luxury hotels, but also the ability to kick Stellar out in case you need extra space. If you'd like to come and join some Orange Island Hangouts, feel free to join #orangeislands on IRC and ask about them. They are more or less spontaneous nowadays, but there are plenty of people who would love to play with you. So if you enjoy playing the games themselves or just hanging out with a bunch of friends, Orange Islands Hangouts are the place for you. We're very friendly here on the Islands, and whether you're new or old, you can always count on a greeting from our good friend Hulavuta when you join.
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