Why Pokémon Go Is The Game This Country Needs
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Why Pokémon Go Is The Game This Country Needs

Why living in a Pokémon World should bring us together.

Why Pokémon Go Is The Game This Country Needs

Nintendo has done it again. The past few years of doubt and criticism from the gaming community made it seem like Nintendo was out the door, finding its spot on the sidelines next to Sega and Atari. Yet, on the contrary to these doomsayers Nintendo has proven again–like they always do–that they are still relevant and able to re-invent themselves. Their stocks have risen faster than they fell just a few years ago: up by an impressive 25%, all just a few hours after the release of Pokémon Go.

Pokémon Go is nothing short of a cultural phenomenon. I’m not the first one to say or realize that, but Pokemania is back and stronger than it was the first time. Dreams of being the very best have awakened and re-awakened across millions of people in and beyond the millennial generation. In typical Nintendo fashion, they have again gotten your parents to play one of their games. By stripping Pokémon to its basic core mechanics they have made a game that both beginners and longtime fans can enjoy. It only took a day after the game was out for my Mom to ask me about it. Now, she has more Pokémon than I do.

Taking the game concept of Ingress, the precursor to Pokémon Go, and applying Pokémon to it is a genius move. An entire generation has grown up with Pokémon, either by watching the show and/or playing the games. The millennial generation is very familiar with these creatures. Making the concept of capturing Pokémon work in an augmented reality format that can be played pretty much anywhere in the country is again, just genius.

The gameplay itself is inherently social. Pokestops and Gyms are in specific locations that people need to travel to if they want to fully experience the game. These locations will usually have players there on a frequent basis, especially if the locations are in a highly populated area. On multiple occasions near these areas I look up from my phone to see someone else doing the same. “Pokémon Trainer?” is what I usually hear from the other person, to which I respond, “Gotta catch ‘em all!” I’m still looking for someone to do the Team Rocket bit with me.

What really needs to be marveled here is the global community that is growing around this game. The social aspect that the game provides really shines and it should be commended for bringing people together in a way that videogames have not been able to do before. All around the country, people of all ages, regardless of race or religion, have come together to enjoy the fact that there are now pocket monsters everywhere. It’s definitely come at the right time too. The United States is in one of the most divisive times of its recent history. Between the Presidential election, the issue of police brutality and unnerving amount of racism, this game is a unifying force in dark times. It definitely won’t fix our problems, but it can help us cope with them. Stories of how the game has helped people who suffer from depression have popped up all around the internet. The fact that hundreds of people will gather to conquer gyms with no abstract concept of separation–except by their teams, go team Instinct by the way–just shows the power that "catching ‘em all" can have.

The teams at Niantic and the Pokémon Company have done a wonderful job. They are paving a way for the future of mobile gaming and have shown how important gaming can be to society. To all those trainers out there, remember to not Pokemon and drive, stock up on Poke Balls and help out your fellow trainers. We all live in a Pokémon world now.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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