On Wednesday, an app went live in the United States that will change the course of history as we know it: "Pokemon GO." This game immediately hit the top of the app store and is still there right now. Millions are playing this game and loving every second of it, but why?
The first thing that "Pokemon GO" has done is bring together a bunch of different groups of people. Before this game, there were the serious Pokemon fans, the pop culture appreciators, and people who just were not interested in Pokemon. Somehow, this game has managed to bring all of these people into one community to play this game. The game uses only Pokemon from the first generation so that the Pokemon are immediately recognizable to almost anyone. Even if you played 10 years ago, now, or not at all, you will have seen this Pokemon at some point in your lives and this by itself has an innate nostalgia value. Now all of these people are downloading this app and getting that nostalgia buzz from it, and chances are, most of their friends are also playing it.
First and foremost, this is a community game. This game has its merits when playing alone, but it is at its best when playing with a group of friends. People are getting together with a group of friends and walking around the main area of their city or town and catching Pokemon. When doing it in a group, you do not have to worry as much as looking weird while doing it, and you have your friends to watch out for you so you do not run into something while staring intently at that screen (we all have already done it, don't lie). Beyond the simple joys of just catching Pokemon with your friends, you also have the crowning achievement of taking down a rival gym after rolling up with your squad and taking it down. This game really rewards playing with other people and that gives it a very rewarding social aspect that a lot of mobile games lack.
One of the biggest crowning achievements of this game is its ability to get people active.
This game promotes and rewards walking around and exploring your environment. Eggs you acquire can only be hatched after walking a certain amount of kilometers and eggs are acquired at Pokestops. Pokestops are local landmarks where you can acquire free items like Pokeballs and battle items and walking to them can be really rewarding, as there are usually wild Pokemon near and around these stops. The feature that allows you to see the rustling grass of Pokemon in the distance is the biggest motivator. You know there's that really rare Dratini is somewhere near here and you can't just let it get away, right? A mile of walking later, you finally find it in the mall parking lot, and that feeling of accomplishment is addictive. This type of exercise is super low impact and really rewarding.
The game does has it flaws right now, however. The servers are the most unreliable thing since that one friend in high school that bailed on all your plans 10 minutes after you were supposed to be meeting up and if you don't live in an urban area or close to a town or city center, then it can be a pain to have to drive into town just to play the game. Other flaws aren't really the game's fault and more just stupid people. DON'T "POKEMON GO" AND DRIVE! CHARIZARD IS NOT WORTH DYING OVER!
When the servers are actually working this game is great and I cannot wait to put even more miles into this game, literally. If you see me walking down a dark alley with my head in my phone, please feel free to stop me and then accompany me to catch that Horsea. Pokemon Master out! Long live team Mystic!