Three weeks ago having a Pokemon poster in your cubicle was unpopular. As fellow employees walked by it sparked an educational conversation that only I enjoyed.
Now, I have people asking for advice on the new Nintendo and Niantic version of catching ‘em all. Pokemon GO has become a worldwide topic of conversation/discussion over night, but to a 20-something fan, this is not a new phenomenon.
Instead, it is a virtual dream that has become a reality.
Humble Beginnings: Understanding The Pokemon Hype
The original show was much more than a boy from pallet town and his pal Pikachu. I believe all generations are beginning to understand that story.
What they may not fully understand, is having the ultimate desire of becoming a Pokemon Master, and how solo of a journey it really is.
This APP has touched the heart of the pokemon generation (otherwise known as millennials). If you were under 20 during the years of 1995-96, chances are that Pokemon has touched your life in some way.
Throughout the years this franchise has manifested itself in many different forms and variations, which have permeated every aspect of our media enriched lives. From the infamous TV show, console games, and multiple movies, Pokemon was everywhere.
Being the very best was a journey embodied by Ash Ketchum. A 12 year old boy with a dream of becoming the best Pokemon trainer.
The gameboy color original specifically, Version Yellow, Red, and Blue are programmed to tell you no matter how well you do, that you’re best. Like no one ever was.
You traveled from town to town leveling up your monsters and beating high level trainers known as Gym leaders.
Pokemon GO is Continuing The Magic
Fast forward to today, that’s where Pokemon GO comes in.
In the previous games you could flaunt your power in the privacy of your own home. Now, everyone believes that they’re the best, and has the ability to test their skills in the a real life Google linked map.
Just like in the past, The goal of Pokemon Go is to earn badges, unlock new challenges, and explore the incredible world around you, all through a virtual lens.
You are now able to walk the streets, phone in hand, catching Pokemon in 31 countries across the world, all while talking to your competition.
It’s pretty much the ultimate wish come true for those of us that logged hours and hours of Poketime wishing that what we were playing, and our lives could be one in the same.
Downsides Of Pokemon GO
Although the game is pretty incredible, there are some negative aspects to it that differ from the originals, and are difficult to overlook.
Arguably the most frustrating part about this game are the glitches. Being that it’s still a Beta app, it’s bound to come with some complications, but not of this magnitude.
You catch a Pokemon, the game freezes. You go to a gym, it freezes. You turn the app on in a new location, it freezes. You get the picture.
However, despite the clearly overwhelmed company servers, the app has not been set back all that much . In fact quite the opposite. Since the release of Pokemon Go Nintendo has increased their company value by over 40 billion, which shows the level of dedication of their fans.
Also, the game is slowly improving as time goes on, which is great news. Although, true fans would play with a cardboard box as long as it had a Pokemon logo on it. Pokemon CO. didn’t raise any quitters.
Although, being the very best, and progressing in Pokemon GO is a bit more difficult than in previous versions. In the traditional game, you catch your favorites and level them up through your adventure. Now, you must catch all the Pokemon you see in order to achieve greatness.
In Pokemon Go, things went from “Gotta catch em’ all!” to “catch as many as you can!”
Another curve ball of the new game, are candies. These candies can be collected, and traded with other players. You use these gifts towards leveling up your Pokemon. This changes the way you view and build your Pokemon team.
It’s no longer about playing favorites, and collecting only the Pokemon you want when you want them, you’re now at the mercy of what monsters decide to grace you with their presence.
Battling For The Glory Of Owning Your Own Gym
This is something that previously, a trainer could only ever dream of!
Now, this idea has become a center focus of the game. Pokemon Go gyms have been integrated into the virtual world as physical locations that already exist like a church, business, or other landmark.
These gyms are taken and “claimed” by members of one of three teams that you can join in the game: Valor, Mystic, or Instinct.
One they are taken, the gym belongs to that team.
So I bet you’re curious about how to become your very own gym leader huh? Of course you are.
For gyms that have already been taken, or if you’d like to battle another trainer the only way you can currently accomplish this is to take over a claimed gym. This is done by engaging the current owners of the gym in a battle and defeating them.
Once they have been defeated enough times by a rival team, their prestige level (number indicating how many victories they’ve had at the gym) will drop to zero and that gym can be taken over by someone new.
This new challenge has created rivalries that bring back that authentic and competitive old Pokemon feel.
Is Pokemon GO Unsafe?
Numerous stories have come about recently of the dangers in regards to this game.
The Pokemon GO creators were definitely well aware of this potential hurdle when they made the decision to step out and lead us into in the new way of gaming.
Despite a very clear warning popping up every time you turn on the APP, a wild array of ridiculous stories have surfaced from users, that accuse the game of being unsafe.
Truth be told, I’m guilty of missing a step or two on the stairs, or attempting to open a door a few steps too far, and ending up with a handful of air.
However, the game is not at fault for my ignoring a crucial part of it’s existence.
What it comes down to, is a lack of physical awareness. The game is more captivating than one could imagine. Common sense really isn’t so common for the multiple headline victims not taking a quick second to look where they’re walking. All this to catch a Pikachu.
Not even a Mew.
Augmented Reality Games Will Change Everything
Exercise isn’t always a priority in our lives, and especially not for most gamers. So the idea that AR could influence children and adults to spend more time outdoors is extremely enticing.
Despite their success, leading the pack does have some downfalls.
Nintendo may have increased their short term revenue with the release of this new game, but has also possibly negatively impacted the long term usage of it’s indoor gaming consoles.
With the release of the new game, I have never seen more people out at 2:00 PM on a Monday afternoon.
Pokestops (locations throughout your map that give you useful items) have the ability to draw crowds at parks, rivers, or even businesses. All ages have come together, there is no longer an age gap in the Pokemon Fan community.
The teams may differ, however no matter if you chose Valor, Instinct, or (begrudgingly) mystic you are part of a community. A community that has grown, the fans have multiplied, and in the end, a positive introduction to a world of gaming without constraints.
As long as you keep your battery charged.