A Trial Run of Pokémon Go

I never intended to play Pokémon Go. Up until this past weekend, I was more than content to follow its comings and goings online, in social media, and on the nightly news. I was impressed by mainstream cult that quickly formed around the game, and I was amazed at its immediate rise in popularity, and not just among hardcore Pokémon players. It seemed as if everyone was suddenly playing this game, almost with reckless abandon. Just watching the saga of the game unfold was amazingly entertaining and about as close as I wanted to be to any of it.

And then a few days ago, my husband asked me,” Are you going to download that new Pokémon game?” My short response was along the lines of nope, never. But then he mentioned something that changed my mind. He said that folks at his work had been talking about Pokémon Go, but that folks at his work never talked about video games. Huh, really? That struck a chord. I knew that Pokémon Go had become a big deal in no time, but until he said that, I don’t think I understood just how big. How in the world could a Pokémon game, of all things, attract both gamers and self-proclaimed non-gamers alike? How could it collect, in the span of a mere few days, a jumbo-sized audience that entertainment companies, video game companies included, only dream of? Well, to find out it appeared that I would have to download the game.

So I did.

Pokémon Go is an intriguing game. It uses GPS software and augmented reality (which you can turn on and off) to place Pokémon throughout the actual world. From there it’s up to you as a male or female trainer, both of whom are lightly customizable, to go out and find and capture these Pokémon. (Or, if you happen to be in a well-populated area, maybe wait for the Pokémon to come to you.) Once you reach level 5, you can join a team and then start leveling up your collected Pokémon and battling for supremacy at gyms. (I picked the yellow team, Team Instinct, because I like yellow.)

She looks good in yellow.
She looks good in yellow.

Within the game, gyms and “Pokéstops” appear on your map. Pokéstop are spots with which you can interact and get items, like more Pokéballs and eggs that hatch if you incubate them and walk a certain distance. You can use incense to lure Pokémon to you, as well as other special items to take care of your collection of adorable pocket monsters. In terms of the game maps, one of the more interesting things I discovered is that world of Pokémon Go looks quite different at my home…

**crickets**
**crickets** and I don’t mean insect Pokémon.

…than it does at my work.

A hive of Pokemon-ness!
A hive of Pokémon-ness!

(Guess it’s pretty obvious where to best play.)

I like the idea behind Pokémon Go in that it’s essentially an augmented reality scavenger hunt. Though the news, any news, is more than happy to report on the negative effects of the game in the real world, it seems to have brought people together more often than not. While I’ve yet to witness the game being played en masse at a particular site, I have seen small groups of people on the street playing together. It’s a little bit odd to watch as they furiously swipe at their phones, but they are nonetheless happy, and that’s alright by me.  For me, the fun of the game lies in simply collecting Pokémon, and, to a certain extent, experiencing them in the real world – it is kind of entertaining to find a Goldeen floating over my desk. I’ve tried my hand at gym battles and have mostly found myself outmatched. I don’t have that fanatic vibe that cares about leveling up my cast of monsters or “owning” a particular gym. I’m more than happy to wander about to see what new critters pop up here and there.

I feel like this Goldeen needs water.
I feel like this Goldeen needs water.

But that necessity of wandering about is also where I fail the game. I’ve played the game mostly during my commutes to and from work, which includes walking and riding. Other times when I’ve been out and about running errands and such, I haven’t thought about the game. I stick my phone in my bag and head on. Walking around with my phone in my hand just isn’t a habit. And the act of “going for a walk” doesn’t involve my phone at all. (If anything, that’s an escape from it.)

The whole idea is somewhat ghastly...haha.
The whole idea is somewhat ghastly…haha.

And then there’s the issue of having the game actually on my phone, which I’m not overly comfortable with yet. I’m a bit (hyper)sensitive about my phone. I like to keep it free from clutter, including games, music, and questionable apps that need access to everything on it. And yes, I’m also one of those slightly paranoid people who always keeps the phone’s location service turned off, something that’s absolutely required to play Pokémon Go. In addition, I also keep a very close eye on my phone’s battery and my data usage, both of which Pokémon Go heartily devour. So really, playing Pokémon Go is a matter of if I feel like allowing the game unlimited access to me. That just doesn’t sit well, so over the past week, the game as been more off than on.

And of course, there are regular connection issues,
And of course, there are regular connection issues,

So here I am at level 5. I’ll probably level up slowly, and only as I find more new Pokémon in my own limited fashion. Pokémon Go may not be my new home, but I’m glad that others have found it as such. Because there’s nothing wrong with playing what you enjoy.

My small collection. Will it grow? I don't yet know.
My small collection. Will it grow? I don’t yet know.

Whether you’ve played it or not, what are your thoughts on the Pokémon Go phenomenon?

(All images in this post are courtesy of me and my phone. Also how hard was it to pick a username?! I tried several before finally finding one that wasn’t taken.)

10 thoughts on “A Trial Run of Pokémon Go”

  1. Great post! I love Pokemon GO right now. There are frustrating parts, particularly the server issues. But I love it. I love going on a journey to catch Pokemon, and I love being able to meet people who are playing this game. It’s been quite a unique experience thus far!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really is something different, isn’t it? 😆 I’ve not yet traveled much, but I did spend much of a day just watching my local map change. It’s interesting to see when gyms change hands and how frequently lures pop up depending on the time of day. (Most folks like to sleep in, it seems, haha!)

      With the game becoming more and more popular, hopefully they’ll get the server problems fixed soon. I have had it freeze after a particularly difficult capture, causing me to lose the character…that was a bit upsetting.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I still haven’t played it, and I may have my own post about Pokemon Go incoming soon (hint 🙂 ahem), but I’m just not interested in getting in on the crazy. I’m glad people are having fun and there are benefits to playing the game that people enjoy but I already know that I’ll either find that the game is not for me or I may love it but then it takes away all my free time when I have other things to focus on. That’s a thanks but no thanks for me. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have to say that my initial interest in the game has started to wear off considerably. Just remembering to actually log in daily doesn’t come easy to me! And at this point, since I’m not traveling to find Pokemon, most of my areas contain the same ones that I’ve already caught. The only thing that may keep me playing is if I do go somewhere, remember to fire up the game, and find some new characters.

      You make a good point there that it could easily become the kind of game that eats up all your free time, especially if you enjoy the social aspect of it. I’m now starting to see more and more people playing together, and, at least at work, I know that’s because my office building is a Pokestop and there’s a gym across the street. If it makes them happy, then great. More power to them.

      (Looking forward to reading your post! 🙂 )

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great stuff, I would be playing if I could, but am waiting for the APP to appear locally (Argentina!). I have been fascinated how the main media outlets I read (non gaming) are all picking up on the game and how quickly it has swept through my online social links! The most fun so far has been seeing friends on FB suddenly sharing Pokemon pics, friends I would have thought would never pic up a game! That they are hitting the streets and mixing is just another bonus in this seemingly revolutionary game… which is even more surprising again as from all the reviews I have read the actual gaming is primitive in the extreme! I hope as a lover of the original that when I do get my hands on it the buzz has not passed!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It seems that Pokemon Go fever hasn’t subsided in the least! And it likely won’t for awhile. Personally, I’m on the fence with the game at this point — I don’t think it’s for me. But it’s been really remarkable watching how the game has brought people — games and non-gamers — together in a way that hasn’t happened before. Frankly, it’s heartwarming and something that needs to happen more often.

      Hope the game makes it into your region sometime soon because it is something that needs to be experienced! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m one of those that simply isn’t interested in Pokemon Go as a game. The idea of actually going out and catching the monsters is interesting, but I find myself thinking that there’s little offered here in comparison to a main series game. I mean, they still have yet to implement trading and battling with friends, something that Blue and Red launched with in 1996.

    I haven’t played the game, so I suppose I can’t comment on its quality. However, there’s not much there to make the game appealing, you know?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I, too, find the concept of Pokemon Go interesting, as it’s the closest to catching Pokemon “for real”, for lack of a better phrase, as we’ll ever get, but it’s not really something I’d try myself. I think my biggest issue would simply be the fact that I don’t go anywhere, so the game probably wouldn’t be much fun if I never ventured beyond the usual places.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. The Duck made a good point about one of the game’s main drawbacks — if you don’t go many places, then why play? I’m in the same boat. I don’t do much traveling outside of my general area on foot, and when I do, I don’t take my phone, or I don’t think to look at my phone if I have it.

      It’s really a game that gives you as much as you put into it. If you like walking around, battling, and meeting other Pokemon fans, then you’ll probably get a lot out of the game. If you’re like me and only remember to turn on the game occasionally just to see if you can catch something new, then it probably won’t have much staying power. Frankly, I’ve only made it up to Level 7 since writing this post, so I don’t know how much longer the game is going to stay on my phone.

      Liked by 1 person

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