Pokemon GO: Observations From A Casual

I’ve never been much of a gamer.  In gaming terms, I am what one would call a ‘casual’.  I only play the popular games that come out and even then that totals to one or two games per year.  And for the most part, Pokémon was never a big part of my childhood.  I played the Game Boy games and even had some of the trading cards, but that was more of a Keeping-Up-With-The-Jones’ thing anyway.  So unless you have been living under a rock or the only website you frequent is mine (Thanks Mom!), you probably know about Pokémon GO.  It’s an augmented reality based game, using GPS and your cell phone’s camera, to immerse yourself in the world of Pokémon.  I can already tell that sentence is going to be dated within the next 5 years, when Pokémon GO looks like Pong compared to what new augmented reality game comes out for the IPhone X.  Welp, let’s dive in.

I live in relatively suburban America, so I am blessed with many Pokestops[1] within 5 miles of my house.  The main drag of my town has at least a couple dozen, which reset every few minutes.  At any moment I am 15 minutes away from being a very rich man[2].  Rumor has it that Pokémon should appear based on where you are.  If you’re near a water supply you should see water-Pokémon, woods=plant-types, volcanoes=fire types, etc.  It would make sense seeing that the most common Pokémon near me at any given time are Pidgeys and Rattatas[3], yet I’ve found most water-type Pokémon in the center of town.  It also appears that, contrary to people’s hopes, wooded areas are Poke-wastelands[4] whereas densely populated areas are hotbeds for less-commonly found Pokémon.  That being said, my friends discovered what could only be considered a mating ground on the outskirts of town, in a neighborhood that juuust borders a hotbed for crime.  So we would park and catch as many Pokémon as possible until the neighbor lady started getting suspicious.

You are nothing to me

As of this version of Pokémon GO, there is no way you can battle friends or trade with them.  However, you can fight Gyms[5] with your friends.  Gyms seem to be located at or around government buildings, so for the first time in human history young people are clamoring to be around the police stations of America.  The problem with Gyms is the bane of every casual gamer’s existence.  This game has been out less than a week and already Gyms are populated with posses with impossibly powerful Pokémon[6].  You would need a posse of your own.  Alas, my posse and I have different schedules.  So it goes as 24 year old man-children.

It’s a buggy app.  There’s no denying that.  I can only play it about 20 minutes at a time before it crashes.  But it’s a fresh take on gaming and I hope it’s an indicator of what’s to come.  This past weekend was the first time I’ve played any sort of video game with friends in years.  The future is now, and reception is looking good.  Here are some real comments about the game, taken from a news article from my hometown:

This game should not be on cell phone s everyone who plays it will end up dead. Going out in traffic trustpassing. Two young kids ran out between parked cars to cross the road. An a guy drowned in the river. This game needs to be banded from cell phones.”

             “Sorry to say but if u need an app of a game to go for walks with ur kids and to do things with them then that’s sad.very sad.why don’t u just play scavenger hunt with them u don’t need an app for that.that’s my opinion”

            “Do Whatever You Please, Just Pay Attention To The Road And Stay Out Of People Yards, And We Will All Be Ok”

            “Who cares.”

Well, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

[1] Markers, usually historical sites or local businesses, where players can collect Pokeballs and other items to assist in their quest to ‘catch them all’.

[2] Compared to real life, where I am a very poor man

[3] Two essentially worthless Pokémon, even at their peak evolution.

[4] Am I doing this right?

[5]A place where you can fight to take control for your team.  There are three teams; Red, Blue, and Yellow.  Shout out to Team Mystic (aka Blue).

[6] Say it five times fast

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