With the crazy success of Pokémon Go, a lot of people will be seeing others playing it outside, at work, and in their cars. Huge gatherings made completely by chance have already happened at city parks and other highly populated areas just so everyone can catch the rare pokémon there. Pokémom Go has given people conversation starters either about what they caught recently or how crazy this Pokémania is. All of this got me thinking, Pokémon has always been good with getting people to be social.
When Pokémon was still new in 1996, there was a mechanic in the game that allowed two players to trade pokémon by connecting two Gameboys via link cable. At that time, there was no online component for the game, so in order to catch them all players had to find others who played the game as well. The game made this an even bigger incentive by having that some pokémon can only be obtained through trades. This feature helped start conversations all across the globe just like how it is starting it now. It helped wallflowers break out of their bubble of insecurity and form lasting friendships just over a video game.
In 2006, when Pokémon Diamond and Pearl was released, a new revolutionary feature was added to the game, online interaction. Players could trade, battle and more with others all around the world. With this new feature, there wasn't too much use in finding people closer to you to trade with. However, by adding this new component it allowed players to have a home away from home with others who still share their same interests. These games were still able to allow players to learn how to socialize even though they didn't need to leave their house. This change was very important as well, since there was a new generation of kids that started playing Pokémon. For these kids, this would be their first Pokémon game to play. The online feature was a very important tool to prepare them for how they will handle 98% of their future conversations with the person right next to them. For the people that grew up playing the original Pokémon, this was also a handy, fun way for them to adapt to this changing world. The other good thing about this addition is for the people who still have difficulty with socializing. There have been stories of people being bullied as they grew up and still played Pokémon while their peers thought of it as a child's game. Like I said earlier, this way their home away from home when they couldn't find anyone around who cared.
Nintendo has bred these two eras of gaming together to make an online game where you have to get outside to play. With the feature to find and caught pokémon in the area around you, Pokémon Go has done something that none of the other games in the franchise, or any other game in my knowledge, has done. It has made players become more familiar with the location they live in. Coming from someone who gets lost a lot, this game has made me want to learn my city a lot more. (So I can know where to go for rare pokémon). And with more features promised to come, like trading, Pokémon Go can surpass all of its previous games attempts at getting gamers to socialize. This phenomenon that is Pokémon Go has been the first time I experienced a major video game franchise be popular with a general audience. With such a wide following, no one can have trouble starting conversations to either rave about it, complain about it, or eh about it. Surprisingly, Nintendo has taught us to capture other things other than Pokémon.