Pokémon Go is taking over. In just a few shorts days since it’s release, Pokémon Go has become the most talked about game amongst people in the United States. It seems like you cannot even go a day without hearing about it anymore. While some people find it annoying, a large majority of people loves it.
So, why is it so popular? What makes this new take on an old classic so entertaining? Well first off, it is a heaping dose of nostalgia. Americans who grew up in the 90s and 2000s grew up on Pokémon. Whether it was an aspiration to join the OG Pokémon squad of Ash, Misty, and Brock, or to train your favorite Pokémon on your Gameboy, these kids wanted to be Pokémon trainers. The drastic changes in technology, entertainment, and media over the past 20 years makes 90’s kids thirsty for nostalgia. There’s always hype when Nickelodeon airs reruns of classic cartoons, so there’s no surprise a childhood staple such a Pokémon would attract hoards of nostalgia-hungry Millennials in 2016.
The game appeals to many different types of people because it is generally very simple to play. You walk around looking for Pokémon. Typically, Pokestops are easy-to-find locations such as churches, museums, and historic sites. When you find a Pokémon and tap on it to try and catch it, it is as easy as flicking Poke Balls at the Pokémon until it’s caught. From there you just collect candies and stardust by catching more Pokémon to eventually evolve and power up. Gyms are fairly simple too. Battles are just a matter of tapping on the rival Pokémon and swiping left and right to dodge their attacks. Of course, there is more to the game than this, but this is the simplest explanation, and it is one reason people young and old are picking up the game.
Pokémon Go also gives you a reason to get out and about in your location. Many people often don’t even explore their own cities and towns. The game causes players to walk to different Pokestops to collect necessary supplies like Poke Balls, razz berries, potions, and so on. In order to continue in becoming the best trainer, you must have ample supplies and eventually battle at gyms.
Since there are so many other people playing this game, the social aspect of the game is enticing to players too. It’s difficult in a time where everyone is engrossed in their phones and laptops to approach a stranger and start a conversation. With so many people playing Pokémon Go, the likelihood of seeing someone else wandering around near a gym or PokeStop with their phone is high. It makes other players more comfortable to start conversations and potentially befriend new people while playing the game. Pokemon Go is an invitation to be a social creature. Likewise, you must select a team when you first visit a gym. Selecting a team causes you to form alliances with other players you come into contact with. Pokémon Go is clever in playing off the innate human need to be social.
There are many people who oppose the game as a whole. Many other adults say it’s immature and stupid to be playing the game as an adult. However, it is unnecessary and unfair of them to belittle the users of the game. It is completely fair to not play and to dislike the game, but to tell others what they should or should not do for entertainment is uncalled for. We live in a world full of negativity and deeply depressing events, it’s no wonder many adults are reaching out for these little snippits of nostalgia.