It’s the app that’s catching everyone’s attention and it only takes seconds to become a ball-er player. I’m talking Pokemon Go. I’ve run out of puns and if you didn’t laugh, I guess we’ll have to battle.
Pokemon Go has a lot going for it. Since its release, Pokemon has had a staggeringly large fanbase – in 2011 Black and White sold over 1 million copies.
When it comes to game-play, everything is pretty straightforward. Walk around until you encounter a pokemon (forced nerd fitness?), then throw pokeballs until you catch it. Using augmented reality technology it allows every fan to live out the dream – find and catch pokemon in the real world. It’s easy, encourages exercise and surprisingly fun. Another plus is the pokestops – landmarks that when you visit grant trainers items and experience points. I greatly enjoyed seeing all the statues, memorials and milestones in my hometown. Places I’ve walked past thousands of time without ever stopping to read inscriptions.
The game is simple but fun. Easy to start and easy to get addicted to.
The biggest con is the wanky servers. There’s so many bugs you’d think the game was sponsored by Azalea Leader Bugsy. It’s so bad I’m seriously considering hiring an exterminator to spray my phone down. A lack of servers was sort of expected – but I had the app crash on me multiple times today. It’s frustrating to be mid-catch only to have the screen blacken and find out the pokemon got away.
Another downside is how un-Pokemon like the game is. There’s no training, no battling, no quest-like feel to the game. I don’t need to collect badges, complete a pokedex, compete in contests or star in beauty shows. There’s no gang of wrongdoers attempting to flood the world, steal pokemon or start a war. It’s just me, on the street trying to find pokemon.
The gym system is inherently flawed too. Pokemon Go has only been available for three days, and there are already players so strong that I’ll never be able to steal a gym from them. My only hope is to luck out and be on the same team as them. It’s a Pokemon game in name only.
It’s easy to be underwhelmed with Pokemon Go – the trailers made it look so real, made it seem as if my childhood dreams of real, living pokemon roam the planet could be possible, albeit more virtual than originally thought.
And yet, I love it. I love everything about this game. Collecting pokemon, venturing around town trying to find a rare breed. This morning, I walked 35,000 steps I wouldn’t normally have just because I wanted to see what pokemon were in the area. (There’s a jinx behind my local golf course that I’m going to catch one of these days.) I was visiting the ocean (we have a complicated relationship, me and the Atlantic.) yesterday and when a wild psyduck appeared(!), I was excited, thrilled that catching pokemon was a reality. I have hope for this game, it’s young but has more potential than anything else on the market.
(Since this article, all of the Buck Off staff is playing Pokemon Go…)