Pokemon Go is a fun, lighthearted game that is addictive for people of all ages. The app is free, so it’s easy to convince someone to download it and join you on your Pokemon journey. Soon you’ll find yourself driving around with a friend, not to go anywhere in particular, but rather to find Pokeballs so you can catch more Pokemon so you can be THE VERY BEST (cue Pokemon theme song). Pokemon Go has blown up in a big way here in the States, and I expect when the worldwide release comes it will only grow more popular. This app is exactly what was needed to reignite the Pokemon craze. This past weekend Central Park in NYC was over-run with people playing Pokemon Go!
Pokemon Go has a lot of features that make it a particularly enjoyable app. Many apps on phones are played by just one individual, but with Pokemon Go you can search for Pokemon together and take pictures with the Pokemon on each others’ phones. The essence of the game is interactive and community building. My siblings and I all have the app and enjoy walking around our neighborhood together catching Pokemon. Even my mother has gotten in on the craze and catches Pokemon with us, which is pretty entertaining since she gets all their names wrong (she calls Cubone “Cow Bone”). Complete strangers can immediately bond over the game as well, since you can clearly tell when someone is trying to catch a Pokemon in a restaurant, shopping mall, church, or even the Sydney Opera House!
This game also encourages exercise as the GPS feature requires the player to walk around to track down Pokemon or reach Pokestops for more supplies.
While you can get both Pokemon and Pokestop items by driving in the car, eggs will only hatch if you have walked a certain number of kilometers, and driving does not register as walking. I often find myself circling the block a few times in the evening in hopes that my latest egg will hatch and reveal something exciting (my last one was a Psyduck that I named Setsuna – shout out for Fire Emblem!) This leads to me catching more Pokemon, running out of Pokeballs and needing to go on another drive to restock. The game is definitely addictive, but not overwhelming, and while you can pay actual money to buy more supplies, I am determined to keep this app free and earn my supplies through my own travels. Thus I exercise frequently, socialize more often and am happier through my insistence not to spend any money on this pastime.
The major downside to the app is that it is SUPER glitchy. Glitches come in a number of ways, from a Pokeball floating in midair where your Pokemon target once stood to the game randomly logging you out for no apparent reason. This leads to a lot of disappointing moments when you thought you were about to catch a new Pokemon and instead are forced to close and reload the app. Given the popularity of Pokemon Go, I hope that these glitches will soon become a thing of the past.
I would encourage anyone and everyone to try out Pokemon Go. It is an easy game for all ages to play and encourages frequent exercise, which most of us could use more of. It leads you to venture beyond your own backyard in exploring for new Pokemon, and in the process you learn about places in your own city that you had never noticed before. I really REALLY want there to be expansions to the app with Pokemon from later generations being added (especially Gen 3, which I grew up with). There’s over 700 Pokemon thus far and more to come, so I believe this is only the beginning of a long, fun-filled adventure to be found by all through Pokemon Go.