Updated: Aug 31, 2018
If you were alive in the late 90’s there is a high probability that you were caught up in the Japanese craze known as Pokémon. They had cards, multiple versions of the game (you needed red and blue to catch all of the Pokémon), and movies. It was a money making machine and it could not fail. It hasn’t failed for 20 years, so much so that the Pokémon creators have begun making Pokémon that are just as good as the new generation of anime that come out now. I mean, what would you call the fact that they had the audacity to make a Pokémon that looks like an ice cream cone?
On July 6, 2016, Niantic Labs released the new Pokémon Go app in the United States. The 30 year old crowd, the Pokémon loyalists who remember the glory days have laced up their walking shoes, put on their trainer gloves and hit the road to catch them all…literally. The new app asks you for 1000 permissions and then uses your phones GPS to track where you are in the world as you walk around tracking and catching Pokémon. It’s actually quite an experience. Instead of a 2D pixelated character on a Gameboy walking around in a world that you don’t know, you are now a 3D sprite that travels around your own hometown that’s full of Pokémon and Gyms that you can battle (more on that in a minute).
Speaking of gym battles, I think the Pokémon Gym in my neighborhood is the Chinese food spot. Their strongest Pokémon is a Raticate or something crazy like that. I kid you not, that General Tso’s chicken has been defending the gym for about three weeks now.
It’s fun to see how many people are playing this game and are excited about catching these imaginary Pokémon, but I have to wonder how long this will last? I have already removed the Pokémon Go app from my phone for the simple fact that there are issues and quite frankly it’s a little frustrating at times. I also have a full-time job and it’s hard to make time, but I still have questions; how is it that I can catch a Pigeotto with less combat power than a Caterpie?
Why can’t I battle the people that are around me playing the game? What happened to the grind of battling to level-up and using items to increase specific attributes to create the most glorious fighting machine ever? I caught a Magikarp and immediately thought “I’m going to demolish everyone once this thing becomes a Gyarados”. But then I realized that I couldn’t just battle around with this thing or throw it into battles. I would have to feed it more Magikarp candy, which means I have to find more Magikarp and then transfer those Magikarp to get the candy. Do you see how crazy it sounds just reading that? Why can’t I put my Magikarp through the ringer to gain XP so that it can evolve into best water dragon ever conceived? As frustrating as the game has been it does have some good attributes.
Pokémon Go has justified its existence in that it has marketed itself as a healthy game that allows the players to get up and actually walk around. You have to walk a certain distance in order to hatch eggs or walk a great distance if you really want to capture that rare Pokémon in your area. Pokémon Go also makes you brave. Do you dare trespass on that person’s property because Pikachu is playing in the back yard? How about that abandoned building? Bravery does come at a price, though.
Trainers have been reported to have found themselves in dangerous situations because of the app. It’s not funny but some people have gone from catching Pokémon to catching trainers slipping and running their pockets. I can’t make this up. Pokémon Go has created real pocket monsters; unsavory people that have downloaded the game, preying on the trainers that wander into the wrong part of town, which is crazy to even think about. Pokémon Go has created a sense of nostalgia but it has also brought with it Team Rocket. I’m not talking about Jesse and James. They were annoying and horrible at their job.
Pokémon Go is an awesome experience but after a while it starts to reveal itself. I’m sure that it is different for everyone but I can only speak from my experience. I couldn’t truly train my Pokémon; People have been robbed by Team Rocket; and I couldn’t battle everyone on the street. That’s what the true essence of being a trainer was all about. If they were to include that aspect into the game I might reconsider downloading it. But until then…I refuse to get robbed and I am definitely not eating at the Chinese food spot to have to battle the Raticate. Its combat power was over 9000. Not good. So for all those who continue to play, avoid that dark alley where Pikachu is playing and be safe.