Hello PUCLonians! Welcome to another edition of Anything Goes where we will talk about the hot new app that casuals and hardcores alike are playing: Pokemon Go! Now, before reading this article, I am going to point you to two other articles first. As always, go check out The Fluff, written by the Fluffiest Whimsicott, and her article last week about the impressions about Pokemon Go when it was out for less than a week. Also, if you have the time, check out my article that I wrote 10 months ago when we first heard about Pokemon Go. As a quick recap, I had said Pokemon Go looked awesome based on the cinematic trailer, but what doesn’t look awesome with a cinematic trailer. I had expected a game like the April Fool’s Day Google map search thing to be what we would get for Pokemon Go (which I would have still played the heck out of). I had high aspiration, but low expectations.
After plaything this game for a little over a week now, I have to say that I am fascinated. Fascinated with how well the game actually performs (I know, it still has some frustrating bugs), fascinated with how addicting it is, and fascinated with what it has done to the global community.
One of the biggest things that has been mentioned about this game is how it gets a lot of people off the couch and out of the house. And this has been my experience, too. Now that this game is out, I try to take my kids on walks in both the morning and the evening.
Quick story:My daughter, Snagorina, is interested in this game, of course. So, I let her do a Pokestop and catch a Pidgey while I ran into the post office. When I got back, she said, “Dad, I tried to evolve your Snorlax, and now it’s gone.” She had sent my 800+ CP Snorlax to Prof. Willow. We had a discussion about how she needed to follow directions and only do what she is told. But that it’s also just a game. She felt bad and wanted to help me catch another one, which I did earlier this week. She was my cheerleader.
Behind one of my wife’s offices, there is a church behind with a walking trail and nearly 20 Pokestops. On Friday night, after her work day, our whole family went for a walk for nearly an hour. During this time, we saw more than a dozen people walking around the trail and driving around the parking lot, picking up stops. Granted the latter way of collection Pokestops seems a bit against what the app intended, it’s still cool to see a bunch of people out doing Pokemon.
I also love how this game is unifying communities across the world. In getting out of the house and checking out Pokestops. There are the hardcores that are probably reading this article, but also people who have never played a Pokemon game before. I have seen an older couple (40s-50s) playing the game. I saw a daughter with her mom playing, a bunch of teenagers playing, 20-somethings playing, families playing. And most of these people have never touched a main series game!
Not only that, when a couple lure modules go off at a Pokestop, not only does it lure Pokemon in, but people, as well. Earlier this week, I had the idea to go to a double Pokestop (2 Pokestops in one area), drop a lure module and hit up the Pokestops for a half hour and catch some Pokemon that spawn. Well, apparently, someone else had the same idea. There were about a dozen cars at this double Pokestop and a group of people congregated and just playing Pokemon Go… at like 10:30 at night… in an empty parking lot. All because of Pokemon.
I feel like we are in a very special time as Pokemon fans. Pokemon Go is the current hot app. Everyone is playing it and I honestly don’t think Pokemon has ever been more popular. The one qualm I have with this is that right now, this game is hitting on simplicity and nostalgia. They will be adding some (needed) enhancements in upcoming versions, and eventually, more Pokemon. And when we get more Pokemon, I think that will drive a lot of the casuals away, creating a whole new generation of Gen-Oners! I can hear it now: “I use to play Pokemon Go, but when they added more Pokemon, it got too complicated. Too many Pokemon to keep up with.” This time is amazing, but it is fleeting.
So, enjoy this time, Pokemon fan. Enjoy the time where your favorite past-time was the most popular thing in the world and everyone was playing Pokemon. Enjoy it and be good stewards of the community and maybe, just maybe, we will be able to retain some of the casual players and bring them into the ranks of the hardcore.