It’s been roughly a year since 2016’s most popular game was released. Pokemon Go quickly took the world by storm as fans of the franchise finally had their dreams come true. To be able to catch pokemon in the “real world” was all anyone had wanted for the past 20 years. As a side note, Pokemon officially turned 20 on Feb. 27, 2016 – about four months before the phone-based game was released.
The game enraptured both fans and non-fans alike, being able to somewhat see the fantastical beasts in our own surroundings was, and is still, amazing. The game was so anticipated that it quickly became the most downloaded mobile game, ever.
Sure it had bugs, and was a little glitchy. People didn’t seem to mind much, as the game really was great. And, in all honesty, the game wasn’t that bad if you downloaded it legally when it launched in Canada. What it did particularly well was getting people outside and sneakily making them active.
Not only were people outside a lot more but they were talking to each other and travelling to other places in search of pokemon. Pokemon Go was great because it made it so you had to go to certain places to discover new pokemon. For instance; in rural prairie towns one would be more likely to find ground, rock and maybe fire type pokemon. For those not in the know, those could include Geodude, Sandshrew, Tauros, Ponyta and Vulpix.
In cities one would be more likely to find electric pokemon like everyone’s favourite, Pikachu. Near bodies of water one could find water pokemon – Magikarp, Goldeen, and Horsea.
When it came out, people would talk to random strangers in the street while on the search for an elusive pokemon while walking, or biking in some cases, many kilometres each and every day. When I downloaded the game last summer I walked a lot – I was outside more than my pale skin particularly liked – and I talked to others. The game is surprisingly social, something I never expected.
Years ago, the Pokemon games tried do to something similar with much less success. With the re-release of Pokemon Heart Gold and Soul Silver the franchise released the Pokewalker. The Pokewalker was a pedometer where the player could load a pokemon into and go for a walk. During your walk the pokemon placed in the device would find presents which would help in the game.
This had limited success, though I will admit to still having fun using the pedometer. The popularity of Pokemon Go did dissipate over the months, but with the release of new pokemon, and warm summer weather, I think it could – and should – make a comeback.
I am a big fan of the game and think it has accomplished something no other game has actually done before, created a fan base that not only leaves the house willingly, but also moves and is a little active.
The Wii and Kinect systems tried to encourage activity of their patrons. It worked for a time, but the Kinect is no longer used – and it wasn’t all that well developed if I’m being honest. The Wii ditched motion capture with the release of the WiiU.
It’s been a year, and Pokemon Go is still getting people outside. I have gone for walks around town and see people playing the game, sometimes I will even hear people exclaim when they catch an elusive pokemon.
The game isn’t dead, it may not be as popular, but it isn’t dead. I think more than anything people should support it. If it gets people outside, moving around and interacting with others, is it really all that bad?