Pokémon Go: Let it Be
It’s not much of a game, it’s a battery drainer and it’s probably already taken all of your information and emails but it’s wildly popular and successful proving that Pokémon still holds a special place in many people’s hearts.
I personally don’t see the appeal. It’s Pokémon, in the most barest of sense. You can’t train, you can’t battle your friends, and you can’t even trade and these are features that the very first Pokémon game had all the way back in 1996. But despite its lack of game I do understand why it appeals to people.
It’s a social thing first and foremost. Just drive down a street or pass a small town shopping center and you’ll see groups of people all walking together and searching for Pokémon.Now they have a game they can share and compete with friends. People are using it as an icebreaker to talk to strangers. Comparing their rosters of Pokémon, showing off their level, and talking about how they found that elusive Magmar. People are using it to motivate themselves to go out, even if it is for the purpose of catching some more Pokémon, at least people are going out and get out of their comfort zone.
Another aspect of the game is its augmented reality aspect. The little camera trick where you see a Pikachu crudely floating around on your screen as you scan your surroundings is just a little gimmick that has more or less worn out its gimmicky appeal. The augmented reality I’m talking about is Pokémon Go’s use of GPS to set up locations and the appearance of monsters. Unlike other games where you navigate a fictional world and find shops and monsters, Pokémon has made players realities and real world locations the plane of exploration. The ice cream shop down the street is now a PokéStop where players converge to gather items. The Santa Monica Pier has become a runway of PokéStops and Gyms, a beacon for players gather supplies and look for rare monsters. The real world has taken on a touch of fantasy and for many players that added flare is more than half the fun.
Pokémon Go is making headlines, both positive and negative. Save for the idiots that play the game unsafely the amount of backlash and bashing the game has received is unnecessary. It is no more important than the fantasy football league many of us take so seriously.
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