“I’m surprised!”, “No way!”, and “Yeah right…” are the responses I’ve gotten when I shamefully admit to never downloading or even trying Pokémon GO. It isn’t nearly as much shame as I should have since honestly, like some other temptations in my life, I just didn’t feel super drawn to it. The fact that it’s a mobile game did make me hesitant as well as my predisposition to oppose the “bandwagon” effect. However what really stopped (and continues to stop) me from starting my own Pokemon Go adventure is far simpler.
As I walk back to my apartment some days, I bump into random girls, guys, and senior citizens wielding their smartphones around while looking desperately for a new catch. It’s a cultural phenomenon that I feel voluntarily cut off from but at the same time, incredibly enthused by. Would you believe a few years ago that a game would cause a government agency to remind its citizens of proper pedestrian and traffic behavior before it even released? It’s something that was unheard of before now and yet, here we are in the middle of what is definitely a major milestone of 2016. History books may not mention it but from a social standpoint, it’ll definitely pop up as more than just a blip on our timeline. For that, I do feel jealous that I decided to forgo the tease of “the best” mobile app of the year. However without playing it, I do have some experience with Pokemon Go.
I’ve felt the excitement of the people around me catching elusive monsters, the joy they have of taking over a gym, the surprise of evolving a Flareon from an Eevee by using a name from the cartoon show. Video games tended to be very singular experiences that you’d play by yourself and maybe discuss with your friends at school the next day. Later, local co-op and multiplayer were added in allowing people to play together comfortably within the same neighborhood. Following shortly of course was online gameplay which gave us the ability to play with others around the world and forge friendships with people you’d never bump into. Pokemon Go produced what could be the next step in the evolution of video games, even if it is a lowly mobile app.
Through ARG and real world correlation, Niantic was able to unite people under three unique banners and then create an environment where they are forced to bump into each other in the real world. From this interaction, there have been numerous horror stories but for each one of those, at least 100 stories of new friendships and great experiences sprouted up. So no, I never got the game nor will I ever get it at this point but not out of spite or a sense of being “too cool”. It’s simply because I was able to experience it through the people I know, my acquaintances on Facebook and the faces on YouTube. As it begins to cool off, I have to wonder what the next gaming singularity will be but for now, it’s fascinating to know that I was able to experience something the human race had never encountered in its long existence.
Andron (or Ace as he likes to call himself) is the so called "Head Honcho" of Bombchu.com. He has a deep passion for video games primarily RPGs, Fighting or Adventure. When not gaming, he's furiously typing on his keyboard or coming up with new schemes.