It is hard to believe that Pokemon has been around for 20 years. From the first games on the Nintendo Gameboy, to the first series with Ash Ketchum, to the now global phenomenon that it has now become, many of us have grown up with this series and hold it near and dear to our hearts. This year, however, after announcing it’s entrance into mobile gaming, Nintendo stated that they were going to do something that changed the way Pokemon was played. When we first heard of Pokemon Go, we were equal parts curious and uninterested. Curious because we now have a way to capture Pokemon in our everyday lives and surroundings but uninterested because this game actually requires you to go outside…walk around for extended periods of time… and search for and catch your favorite Pokemon. After almost a weeks worth of playing, we must say that this game is definitely worth your time and energy.
Pokemon Go is a mobile-GPS based game, like Ingress, which allows you to take control of an avatar, and roam around your local area and the surrroundings in your search for rare pokemon. You can also collect more of the same pokemon in order to earn Candy, which is used to evolve your best pokemon to take to battle against other teams and gyms. The game starts with the original 150 Pokemon, which in the future possible can allow for the addition of the other generations of Pokemon. Upon downloading Pokemon Go and customizing your avatar(with admitedly limited options) you are given a choice of the three starter Pokemon: Squirtle, Charmander, and Bulbasaur. Choose wisely, as this is the first time you encounter them and although you will find them again soon, it may not be for a while. After that, you can begin roaming the area around wherever you begin, taking items from Pokestops and catching the Pokemon you encounter.
Pokemon Go doesn’t have much in the way of a tutorial or useful tips mode, so it may be useful to look up what some of the items, like Candy and Incense, do. As this is a game based on GPS, you can guarantee that a constant internet connection is necessary along with certain Pokemon being more common depending on the area you go to to play. While roaming tonight, we found that different types of Pokemon are more common based on the time of day too. Although this is a cool feature, it may be a public safety concern depending on your local area. On top of that, we have seen a couple of higher profile news stories in the news since the release of the game, such as a young Wyoming woman finding a dead body in a river. And please do not drive and play Pokemon go, as you may cause a car accident by trying to catch that Pickachu you so desperately desire. And beware of server issues, as we have had numerous server outages that can last the entire day, rending your searches and logins mute.
We think that this game is a great start along the path to success. Not only does it get people moving and exercising; it creates a fun, augmented and sometimes not entirely safe way to walk some calories off while catching characters and Pokemon most of us born within the last 25 years have come to love and adore. We are excited to see where Nintendo and the developers take this game, as we have another 6 generations of potential Pokemon to catch and hopefully many more years of support for this awesome, fitness based game.