Over the last week going outside has been nothing but a joy, and not because its summer and it’s the time to be out, the reason I’m excited is because everywhere I look people are playing Pokémon Go. Now I live in Chicago so it’s a bit more obvious, any which way I turn someone has their phone out in front of them, and is waving it around frantically (ok maybe not frantically), you get the idea. I even watched a young man veer off the sidewalk coming towards me and wander into some (tall) grass, now if that doesn’t scream Pokémon in real life I don’t know what does. It truly is amazing though, Pokémon, a game which most people my age left behind a long time ago is back at it in full force.
If you’ve been on any social media over the last week it is hands down one of the top things that will be in your feed, as I write this Pokémon Go sits comfortably in my twitter feed, even I am guilty of tweeting about Pokémon Go, and yet I haven’t even spent that much time with it. I am just awe struck by what it’s doing, and I’m excited to see where it will Go (pun totally intended), having barley dipped a toe in, I can’t wait to start trading and battling. I know there a slew of features I have yet to understand or see, all in good time though, for now I enjoy just seeing others participating in what for most is probably pure nostalgia.
Pokémon Go shows just how strong this franchise is. I’ll never forget when Pokémon launched in the late 90’s, I can’t remember exactly where I got it (I’m pretty sure I got lucky, being that it was sent in the mail to households they knew had children), but one day I had the DVD introducing Pokémon, this was straight up the beginning, soon every kid I knew was playing Pokémon, and watching the show. Of course sense then there has been an onslaught of games merchandise, and all things Pokémon related, but for such a simple idea to have such an impact. Seeing people playing and participating in the gaming community who are casual gamers if at all.
It’s only been a little over a week sense Pokémon Go launched so we will see how it holds up in the coming months, as it goes with any mobile game it can be a rocky road out there, and it’s easy to be left behind. The one thing it has going for it is it’s freaking Pokémon something so familiar to such a wide audience, a thing that has been adored, and fawned over for years, it’s no wonder so many people are playing this game.
One feature that does stand out more than any other is that the game interacts with your environment. Over the weekend I learned that the best time to play Pokémon is when you’re with others. My girlfriend and I had a whole weekend planned, and then Pokémon decided to get involved, we absolutely had a blast. Not only was my girlfriend showing me where she grew up, but because Poké stops (as they are called) which are real places in your world are literally everywhere, she ended up seeing things she had never noticed before that had always been right there!
All in all, Pokémon Go is hands down a success (aside from the darker stories to come out of it), and I’m sure will continue on its trajectory. It brings a gaming enthusiast such joy to see causal gamers, and maybe those who don’t game at all walk through a door that’s been there all along. Thanks Pokémon Go, see you out there other trainers.