Friday, July 15, 2016

Pokémon Go!

Pokémon is taking over the world! Again! As a lover of the original Gameboy games and owner of at least one from every generation of said games, I'm kind of loving this Pokémon Go thing. I have to admit that I have a phone that's so old and decrepit that it can't actually run the game, but I love the concept of it, and I love how it's bringing people to together.

I was at the mall with my sister the other day and sat down to wait while she returned something, and got to watch a group of kids freak the heck out about a Chansey right where we were sitting. They even called over a group of other kids who they didn't seem to know but were obviously playing the game and they all got super excited together for a while. It was kind of awesome to watch.

Plus, there's the benefit of encouraging people to exercise and be nerdy at the same time. And nostalgia, for those of us who grew up watching the games evolve from Red/Blue to Go. It's kind of revitalizing the franchise, I think. I mean, for anyone who's played the Pokémon handheld games, you know the general gameplay is basically the same from game to game. There's an antagonistic team you have to face down, you get one starter, have to collect eight gym badges to face the Elite Four, fill your pokédex, etc. It's kind of the same game but with new graphics, new pokémon to catch, and new names for the baddies.

But Pokémon Go is something different. It's not the same old plotline. It's actually encouraging people to engage with the world around them (albeit, through a screen), while maintaining the nostalgic joy of the original games. It's actually putting people in the digital shoes of the original protagonist.

Sure, it has some bugs to work out (like being inaccessible for people with disabilities, and collecting way more data on users than it actually needs to), but I think for the most part, it's a really interesting phenomenon so far.

Are you playing it? What are your experiences so far?

Emily is trying not to feel left out of the cultural phenomenon by reminding herself that, if she downloaded the game, she would do literally nothing else but catch pokémon. It's only kind of working.

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