I decided to get in on the latest craze which is Pokemon Go. This is an augmented reality game where you hunt for Pokemon in the real world, catch them and add them to your collection. It’s all the rage right now, and since I’m still working through the main series of games I thought I should check it out.
When I first opened the app it asked me to log in and customize my avatar. Then I was given a choice between 3 different starter Pokemon to catch. I clicked on the grass starter, my usual favorite, and was presented with a screen through my camera lens with my selected pokemon superimposed on my office.
At first I had no idea what to do. Maybe I skipped a tutorial somewhere, but I had no idea that you had to ‘flick’ the pokeball at the Pokemon to catch it. After some Google’ing I started getting the hang of it and walked around my neighborhood a bit to see what was around. I managed to catch a few Pokemon before heading home, and had fun doing so.
So what I love about this game is the ability to play it anywhere, and find Pokemon hidden in the real world. It’s lots of fun to suddenly find something while walking down the street from your house. However, this is also the biggest downside to this game. If you’re not willing to invest the time in hunting down Pokemon, looking for pokedrops, or capturing gyms, there’s not much to do. The point of the game is to get you out in the world, looking at your phone, to find pocket monsters wherever you are in real life. Encouraging kids to get out in the world is a great thing, and I applaud Nintendo for trying to encourage this. However, I’m not sure it’s going to make a huge difference, as kids start to lose interest.
Unfortunately, I feel like this model isn’t going to have staying power. I spend most of my time in a couple different places, and unless new Pokemon wander in, at the moment I’m looking for them, I’m never going to catch anything new. It requires a bit of time commitment to actually seek out new places, and have the patience to walk around while looking at your phone to see if anything pops up. For some people this will be a cool thing to do, but for many casual people like myself, it just requires too much commitment.
I’m sure I’ll keep pulling my phone out wherever I visit to see if anything pops up, but I can imagine that after a while this app will be relegated to obscurity for me while I play Sun & Moon in November.