"Pokemon Go" entrances mainstream audiences on mobile
“not another Pidgey…”
This is something I’ve heard numerous times journeying throughout my home state of Connecticut these past couple weeks as the newest mobile application, “Pokémon Go” brings “Pokémania” back to the mainstream.
Developed by formal-Google developer, Niantic, Inc., "Pokémon Go" looks to bring the wondrous and mystifying creatures of the original 151 to the real world.
The app, which strays heavily away from the game it was based on, brings the catching experience to the real world. Implementing a software concept known as augmented reality, the Pokémon are generated right in front of the environment you are currently at. For example, water Pokémon, like Horsea, are frequently found by water whereas suburban Pokémon like Pidgey, could be found closer to home.
Like the mainstream handheld games, "Pokémon Go" focuses on travel. In order to be able to “catch ‘em all,” the user must travel to different places and environments to fill up their Pokédex. Nationwide, parks and other public areas have been filled with people looking to get their hands on the next Charizard or Pinsir.
The game also has a feature known as Pokéstops which can be found by real world landmarks, which players can visit to buy and receive items such as Poké balls and Pokémon eggs. “Pokémania” has gotten so bad that places like Police stations and museums have asked players to not play in the vicinity of their establishment.
Unlike the games where experience is gained through combat (like most RPGs,) "Pokémon Go" utilizes Pokémon-specific candies to level up Pokémon as well as giving the Pokémon a specific CP, or combat power, upon catching or hatching.
Additionally, while the handheld games focus on teaching players to love all Pokémon, "Pokémon Go" emphasizes keeping the strongest Pokémon and trading the rest to Professor Willow in order to make your strongest one stronger. A concept that not only misses the point about Pokémon but also brings along this narrow mindset that stronger is better.
Pokémon, much like it’s handheld counterpart, in that it features gyms that other players can go and battle to test their skills. However, in this rendition, players act as the gym leaders and control their own gym. Meaning there are much more than eight gyms in the entire world of "Pokémon Go." Instead of engaging in combat and utilizing moves, challengers play in a dodge mini-game to beat opposing gym leaders.
A cool twist is that these gyms act as enemy territory and can be conquered by another player. Meaning that if you want to stay in control, you always have to keep an eye on your gym.
However, as technology reporter Hiawatha Bray wrote for the Boston Globe, “Pokémon Go” offers users a depthless augmented reality experience. “[If] you walk toward the Jigglypuff creature displayed on your screen, it doesn’t get larger, as a real object would. Nor can you walk around the image and view it from different angles. It’s just a flat, two-dimensional cartoon, pasted onto your screen” Bray wrote.
"Pokemon Go" limits the fantasy Pokemon experience by making the catching Pokemon aspect the most frustrating part. If the game was more, "hold up your app as you walk and Pokemon randomly pop out" it would help to bring the out the realism.
"Pokemon Go" also has had server and other possible game-ruining issues since its release ruining the playability of the game for users.
"Pokémon Go" effectively brought back the popularity and accessibility of Pokémon back to a demographic who may have not necessarily been able to keep up with recent series installments. However, the numerous glitches, server issues and lack of longevity showcases that "Pokémon Go" has a lot to work out if it wants to sustain its place as a popular app.