As a child I had a few packs of Pokémon cards, but that was about it. I never had a Game Boy and I have no recollection of actually playing a Pokémon game with my cards so I have an extremely basic knowledge of this whole phenomenon. So when I heard about Pokémon GO I was intrigued and excited to finally explore the world of Pokémon. I downloaded the app, struggled with glitches and several phone freezes (my phone went completely black for 5 minutes at a time for the first three days I attempted to play this game), and became frustrated with the overwhelming amount of Drowzees and Zubats near me.
But then something changed.
The app stopped glitching as much, I found friends who were also playing, and a casual trip for lunch downtown turned into hours of wandering the city searching for Pokémon. In fact, I’ve played every day for the last 4 days and I am completely addicted to this game.
But what makes Pokémon GO such a great game? And what are the drawbacks to playing it? Here is my quick guide to the pros and cons of Pokémon GO.
I. The Glitch – The app will freeze, it will glitch, and it will lose you Pokémon. You may lose out on a super awesome character that’s already nestled in side a Pokéball because the app goes haywire.
II. The Servers – Occasionally you may find yourself thrown out of the game or asked to re-login, only to find that all the servers are busy. But what about that rare Pokémon that was across the street? He’s gone now, better luck next time!
III. Awareness – You will have none. Cars? People? Buildings? Nope. All I see is Pokémon. Be careful you don’t lose sight of where you are….that disclaimer on the Loading Screen is no joke! But this also applies to life awareness. Oh, there’s a big project due at work this week? Well Tauros is outside…BRB!
IV. Instructions – One of the things that is most frustrating is learning how to play this game. There are very few instructions on how gyms work, what the Pokémon tracker shows you, and how to use the special items. It’s a real trial and error type game for those who level up first.
V. Pokémon, where art thou? – If you live in some random neighborhood and aren’t by a church chances are there aren’t any Pokémon near you. This is very frustrating when you want to go for a leisurely stroll to catch some and you can’t find any. Cities are filled with Pokéstops, but rural areas are SOL.
THE PROS (Because I save the best for last)
I. Mental Health. – Pokémon GO gets people to actually go into the world. People who are often confined to their homes are going out in the sun to catch Pokémon. This may seem like a small perk of the game, but it is something that is drastically improving the mental health of a lot of people. Players are getting fresh air, making friends, and seeing the sun.
II. Physical Health. – For those of us working fulltime and also trying to balance social obligations and other life requirements, our physical health might be taking a beating. The greatest part about Pokémon GO is that you have to physically walk to Pokéstops to collect items and to hatch eggs. I’ve hit my step goal 4 days in a row and it is most definitely because of Pokémon.
III. Childhood. – As I mentioned before, I never really got to play Pokémon when I was a kid. For me, Pokémon Go is a way to live the childhood I never had, hunting mysterious Pokémon and learning about all of these new creatures. For those who did play when they were a kid, it’s a way to go back in time. Either way, it’s a great way to forget about the adult world for awhile and really have some genuine and simple fun.
IV. Friends – Pokémon Go is a great activity to do with friends. I had plans with a few people to see a movie the other day and instead we spent the day wandering to catch Pokémon. But you can also meet new people playing Pokémon. You’ll bond over how the app keeps glitching on you or some cool Pokés you catch!
V. It’s free. – Whaaaaaaaaaat? Like most app games, there are opportunities to purchase upgrades and other items within Pokémon Go. But unlike most other games, it’s not a pay-to-win style game where you need more lives so you purchase them. It’s a lot more balanced with free content than other mobile games. Free entertainment is always a plus.
Pokémon Go is a solid mobile scavenger hunt combining augmented reality and exercise with a little bit of nostalgia. If you’re looking to be healthier (both mentally and physically) and haven’t been able to find a good solution, Pokémon Go might be your for you. But if you’re living a hectic lifestyle already, it might do more damage than good for you. They say all things are fine in moderation, but I haven’t been able to only play Pokémon Go a little bit…it’s too addictive for small doses!
How about you, do you play Pokémon Go? If so, what’s your most powerful Pokémon? Your favorite one? Alternatively, if you don’t play, why not?