If you are millennial or at least a person whose been watch the news within the past week, there’s a good chance you’ve heard the hoopla around Nintendo’s mobile app, Pokemon GO. In a short period it’s rocketed to the top of the Google Play charts even dethroning massive players in the mobile field like Tinder and Twitter.
When I first found out about Pokemon GO, my reaction was mixed at best. The last time I had touched anything related to Pokemon was when played my Crystal game way back in 2002. It was such a big part of my childhood but I had long since outgrown the franchise. Still, as a fundamentally curious person, I had to give the game a chance.
When I opened the app on my phone, old memories rushed to my mind. I recalled all the times I watched the anime on Saturday morning, or yelled in anguish on encountering another Pokemon in the wild (When I had almost reached my destination). Since almost all possible spellings of “Lindsay” were taken, I kept brainstorming until I settled on Lynzee (which is quite a bastardization, but close enough).
The basic concept of the game is the capture as many wild Pokemon as you can, while traveling to gyms in order to battle other Pokemon. If you ever run out of Pokeballs or other supplies, PokeStops are scattered everywhere to help you out. The coolest feature about this app, is its location technology. Depending on where you are, the game shows the various Pokemon, Pokestops, and gyms that are nearest to you. It seems the Pokemon you find are based on a particular area so water types will be closest to the bodies of water, and grass types are in forest and other wooded areas. My only frustration is the lack of variety in Pokemon to be found. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a Rattata, Pidgey, Weedle, or a Sparrow in the past 24 hours.
Apparently as you gain levels and move around, different Pokemon are supposed to appear, but I still have yet to see fan favorites like Pikachu or Jigglypuff. Once a player reaches level 5 they have the option of choosing between three team choices; Valour, Instinct, or Mystic. Right now I’m on level 7 and I have yet to make a decision. Based on what I’ve seen there isn’t much difference between the teams, and any claims of uniqueness is purely superficial.
It’s so amazing how a simple mobile application has changed how people interact within a short period of time. In the past many would just stay instead rather than get fresh air, but now people are embracing nature for the sake of a simple Pokemon capture. My sister was acknowledge by a neighbor in the car for simply playing the game. The priorities aren’t exactly completely aligned, but at least more people are going outside. I don’t know if Pokemon Go’s popularity will last past September, but at least July 2016 will go down as a month to remember.