KIS Gamer REVIEWS: Pokémon…Go?

Ah, Pokémon Go. By now, I’m pretty certain that more than 99.99% of the KIS student body has already either heard of the game being talked about or have it downloaded on their mobile devices. Breaking Apple’s App Store records for being the most downloaded app ever during its first-week launch, the craze for Pokémon Go has spread all around the world. So, for those of you who don’t know what it is (although I seriously doubt that) or just want to read up a bit on this app, let’s try to find where the actual appeal for this game stems from.

Pokémon Go, in it’s most basic form is a mobile augmented reality video game developed by a company named Niantic and published by the Pokémon Company. By merging virtual reality with the real world, the game tracks players with a GPS signal and allows them to become “Pokémon trainers” in real life, encountering digitalized Pokémon in the wild. Players then have the ability to use Pokéballs to capture said Pokémon and build up a collection of them, chasing after the dream of “catching them all”. Players also have the option to visit places known as “Pokéstops”, randomly added at points of interest in the real world to restock on Pokéballs and even find useful items or rare Pokémon eggs. Finally, players are also able to battle one another by choosing a team to pledge for and take control of as many gyms (also scattered randomly) as possible for their team. These teams include Team Mystic, Team Valor, and Team Instinct.

Players then have the ability to use Pokéballs to capture said Pokémon and build up a collection of them, chasing after the dream of “catching them all”.

Players also have the option to visit places known as “Pokéstops”, randomly added at points of interest in the real world to restock on Pokéballs and even find useful items or rare Pokémon eggs. Players are also able to battle one another by choosing a team to pledge for and take control of as many gyms (also scattered randomly) as possible for their team. These teams include Team Mystic, Team Valor, and Team Instinct.

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With a basic understanding of the game now, let’s take a look at why the game is so popular and whether or not it really is worth all the hype that it has accumulated. First off, Pokémon Go is a new type of mobile game that many are not familiar with. By using a GPS signal and making players actually move and become active, the game is presenting a new and innovative play style which may seem fun and cool for several people. However, is that really it?

For some that don’t know, the company Niantic actually released a game with the same concept a few years back known as “Ingress” (available to check out on both IOS and Android). However, it never reached the amount of popularity that Pokémon Go has, but what is the reason for that?

That leads us to the second reason as to why I feel this game has become popular. The franchise that Pokémon Go is tied to has a HUGE fanbase. Pokémon has literally been around for a bit over a decade and has been extremely popular with both children and even adults. Thus, with a game promising people the ability to catch Pokémon for themselves instead of in a game, this automatically makes more people want to play.

Finally, Pokémon Go could not have become this popular if it had not been the type of game that could be played at any age. People of several age groups – children, adults, and even the elderly – are playing this game, not to mention both males and females. Because it is enjoyable by such a mass spectrum of people, Pokémon Go has, in my opinion, been able to become this popular.

So, in conclusion, what do I think of the game? Personally, I commend the developers and the Pokémon company for being able to think of such a successful concept. However, I really don’t see the actual appeal in playing the game at all. I’ll admit that when I first started playing Pokémon Go on the day of its release in Thailand, I was hooked for several days. However, after repetitively catching Pokémon over and over again, the game lost its appeal for me. But, Pokémon Go still is an amazingly innovative game that may be incredibly addicting and fun for several people. If you haven’t already, check it out now (I forgot to add, it’s FREE) on either the Play Store or App Store and see for yourself!

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