Pokemon GO

Something about Pokemon Go is changing how gamers are playing games! What is so special about this game and why is it causing a cultural phenomenon? Tonight I took a “Poke walk” to a large park in our neighborhood with my husband, who is playing the game daily, and I asked players their thoughts on the game in their own words.

Zariya: “What do you like about Pokemon Go?”

Jack: “It gets people out. It brings people together. And it’s a very fun, casual game to enjoy. And walking makes people healthy.”

Julius: “I like that it gets people outside. That normally wouldn’t be outside [chuckles].”

Daniel: “It gets you out, and it’s Pokemon. It lets you catch Pokemons that you know as a kid and enjoy as a kid. And, I think it’s fun for now. I used to play the previous game, Ingress. So yeah, this game’s a lot of fun.”

David: “Makes us go to different cities, makes us go out. Plus the fact that it’s like, addicting.”

Vanessa: “That’s the biggest thing, he didn’t like leaving the house, and now he’s like – let’s go!”

Emma: “I like this [waves around]. There’s like 100 people here, all doing the same time – playing Pokemon. Because we all kinda grew up with Pokemon. It’s bringing back the Pokemon community I guess. It’s really fun to go around with your friends.”

Sarah: “I like that it’s more social too. For me, my favorite aspect about it growing up was the fact that I could trade with people, and battle with people. So, yeah, the people aspect is so huge to me. and the fact that there’s literally physical people right now walking around parks, in real life – it’s crazy. Seeing people of all ages too is interesting. Normally I would think it’s kinda the people who grew up with it and there are kids who don’t know what it is now, but I still see a bunch of younger people playing it.”

Anita: “I like that it kinda gets me outside and explore different areas, and see different parts that I would never think to go to myself.”

Mike: “I’m old school so I just like Pokemon in general. I grew up with it.”

Patty: “I love going Poke hunting and seeing all the different types of people playing Pokemon Go. There honestly isn’t one type of people playing this game. Many think it’s only nerds – not like that’s a bad thing- playing it, but I’ve seen all kinds of people. It’s fun to see crowds of people playing and trying to look for that one Pokemon they don’t have yet.”

Shawn: “Well I’ve always liked the Pokemon games, so despite its many differences it is reminiscent of that. But my primary draw to it is it helps me get exercise. I decided to embrace it because it actively distracts me while I’m exercising.”

Zariya: “What don’t you like about the game, or what do you think could be improved?”

Jack: “There is a slew of problems. Besides the glitches, the server instability, really the biggest problem is the balance of the game. It’s not very well balanced. There’s clearly what’s best and what’s not. The combat is really, really sub-par. So it’s not really like a Pokemon game like people know. But its still entertaining.”

Julius: “I wish the tracker worked again – that would be nice.”

Daniel: “Right now it’s really buggy. So, like a lot of times when you catch a Pokemon, the game freezes and you don’t know if you catch them or not and you have to reset the game. There are a lot of issues with the game. It’s still in beta.”

David: “So far the server is still kinda glitchy. Hopefully the trading system happens so we can trade stuff we don’t have. Not bad, this game’s really fun.”

Emma: “I think it might be in the works to do, but I really love the trading system. This is already a lot for it being a free game. It’s not pay to win. I guess making improvements on the server stuff and bugs and finding things. There’s not really a lot of stuff around my neighborhood. I have to go other places to really find things. Maybe the trading system is the biggest thing.”

Sarah: “I really wish that the speed cap would increase a little – because if you’re on your bike – I know a lot of cyclists that go over 20 miles per hour, because that’s just what you do when you’re on a bike. I have to make an effort to go really slow in order for the step count to count it.”

Anita: “Well, there are a lot of bugs, so, I mean, it’s a small company, and I get that they’re trying. But, it’d be good if they fix the bugs.”

Mike: “There’s definitely things to improve. I don’t really wanna say I don’t like anything. There’s just stuff that they could obviously work on. The tracking system is awkward still and they could improve it. The issue that we were talking about where there’s no way to skill the game out. Like, you can’t catch Pokemons better, you can’t do things better. And I personally don’t like how certain Pokemon in this game are obsolete. I think that’s a silly thing; I don’t understand the power gap.”

Patty: “It still freezes a lot. Sometimes I’m not able to log back in. It would be awesome to have an item – like an incense item – that lured in Pokemon you don’t have yet. Or an item you can use to evolve a Pokemon without having to use the candy. Of course they would not be easy to get. Maybe something you get when you level up. Not something available at a Poke stop.”

Shawn: “The battling system. As someone who grew up and loved the turn based rpg and being able to train against wild Pokemon, and change out to other Pokemon and moves keeping it fresh for longer, I really don’t like the current battling system with the gyms.”

Zariya: “How is Pokemon Go different from other games that you’ve played?”

Jack: “No other games require me to go outside and hunt for stuff. So that part is different. This isn’t a game where you can just sit and play.”

Julius: “It’s the first game that you’re forced to actually go outside and do something rather than play on your couch.”

Daniel: “Well, it’s augmented reality, right? So, basically you go outside and you play in the real world versus sitting at home on your couch.”

David: “It’s interactive. It makes you play with the levels of the real world. Instead of the levels in your house. Yes, so that’s the main factor.”

Emma: “I’ve never really played a game like this before, where you go out and you find real world locations where virtual things are. More so than any co-op games, it’s more social than any other game that I’ve ever played. Even the ones that are built on playing with other people. Not like one screen and another screen – it’s people out in the real world, playing a game.”

Sarah: “Every other mobile game I’ve played is like grindfest or just buy things. Farmville kind of things where you collect things. This is kinda like Geo Cache but way cooler! It’s like a social thing as well but has never been to this kind of scale.”

Anita: “I don’t really play games, so I can’t really comment on that one; I’m not a gamer.” [Any advice for new players?] “I’d probably look up articles on it and just get tips from there. That’s probably the best. Then you could like strategize how to level up or collect Pokemon.”

Mike: “Well, obviously it makes you go outside. That – it makes me go outside, that’s about it.”

Patty: “I’m not a video game type of person, but this game appeals to me because it’s not hard to play and it’s not extremely competitive like some video games. I don’t have to be that great at it to have fun playing it. Also, it gets me to leave my house and explore neighborhoods! I love walking around and hatching the eggs because you never know what you’ll get. Before this game, the only games I ever played on my phone were solitaire and crossword puzzles.”

Shawn: “I feel like this game encourages more than any other, for you to socialize in the real world. It is very common for people to go to parks and other places where there are multiple Pokestops and put down lures which attract Pokemon, and also other players since they benefit as well. This is creating many public places where it’s acceptable to be very nerdy, and which as someone who grew up being picked on because of it, is something I really love.”

Zariya: “Any other comments about Pokemon Go?”

Jack: “If you’re a fan of the Pokemon franchise, you should enjoy this game. However, this isn’t anything like the original games. If you’re expecting to have the same experience as the games that you know and love, prepare for something that feels familiar but incredibly different.”

Julius: “It’s crazy how popular it is. That’s… it’s incredible.”

Daniel: “It’s pretty fun, for now.”

Emma: “I really like it. I’m out here with my best friend, playing Pokemon, after playing it for over 10 years.”

Sarah: “I don’t walk in California. This is the only reason I am. Because I live in New York, so for me this is big.”

Anita: “Go team mystic!”

Mike: “It’s definitely something that anybody can get ahold of and do and try. The only people who don’t like Pokemon Go are the people that don’t play.”

Shawn: “I heard it will be coming out with trading and battling with your friends in the future, and I really hope they do a system that allows a friends list that you can play with online and simply have some sort of bonus to encourage proximity instead of close proximity only. I think that not only would that be great, but would help the game even further it’s successes in making the world a better place.”