Written by: Juan Contla
Pokemon has always been a mobile gaming platform, designed for fans to bring their adventure with them and meet fellow trainers. With mobile gaming slowly dominating the cellphone carrier market, it was only a matter of time until the franchise did so as well.
‘Pokemon GO!’ Hit the ground running last week and fans can’t find a way to put it down. The game now brings Pokemon into your own real world. Using GPS and location settings on cell phones, the game has you walk around your surrounding areas and displays locations where you can find Pokemon and then catch them by tossing pokeballs, using your touch screen. Walking around you’re also able to find real life locations that are marts in the game where you can receive various items to help you on your journey and battle leaders in locations designed as gyms in the game.
With you having to physically having to walk to each destination, the game is proving to be a great way to get people active this summer, by having rarer Pokemon in locations that are hard to get to or find. Some reports going out as to saying that players are ending up lost from all the walking and ending up in areas they’ve never visited before. Many fans have gone to social media to organize events where many would meet up and go searching for Pokemon and battle together.
The launch was nothing short of astronomical, due to the amount of times the app had been downloaded. So much that for the first couple of hours, Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store couldn’t properly allow users to download the game, which was followed by a bunch of server crashes which halted play. What started off as a teaser just over a year ago has now become something even Nintendo couldn’t have predicted.
Many casual fans who wrote off the series as something that will eventually die out, are seeing ‘Pokemon GO!’ a sure sign that that’s not the case with so many casual fans who have “outgrown” the series returning to enjoy this new outlook on a beloved series that’s touched generations.
“I had stopped playing after Diamond and Pearl, but now with this I can literally play anywhere, anytime,” said Luis Chavez, “playing on my phone in real life gives you that feeling of being a kid again.”
Of course fans that have been with the series since the beginning are no slouches in showing their enthusiasm. “I waited for this game to come out for a long time. I absolutely love it!” said longtime fan, Brandon Simanski, “It brings people together, encourages people to go outside and exercise, all while taking you on a Pokémon journey! It’s a great game and it can only get better.”
The Pokemon franchise is amongst Nintendo’s biggest assets, alongside The Legend of Zelda and Mario Bros., so it wouldn’t make sense to see the brand fade away. The last installments in the main series were back in November 2014 with Pokemon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire which were remakes of the series’ third generation. The introduction of these games along with Pokemon X & Y back in 2013 on the Nintendo 3DS saw a bigger launch than expected looking at previous new main series’ launches, so there was definitely a sign of improvement on Nintendo’s part.
However, the debate has gone for some time, and now it looks like the argument has swung more towards one side. With the game accessible to anyone with a smart phone, it doesn’t alienate those who don’t have a Nintendo console, Pokemon is now accessible to millions of more users and that’s what’s behind the outstanding success behind Pokemon GO!, accessibility with a hint of nostalgia. You’re on your own adventure, not in a fictional region, but in your own real world.
For information on how to go on a Pokemon journey on MSU’s campus, click here!