Last week, Nintendo made a huge splash in the mobile gaming market with the launch of Pokémon Go, a free-to-play take on becoming the very best like no one ever was. The game has a simple concept: walk around your neighborhood to move your character on the game’s map in search of Pokémon, items, and gym battles.
To me, the craziest thing about Pokémon Go isn’t how quickly it’s taken over people’s mindshare or boosted Nintendo’s stock value, but just how positive the overall reaction has been. Aside from server issues causing some headaches here and there, people are genuinely having a great time playing with each other and, somewhat akin to the arcade experience, making new friends out in the world.
For me, the biggest disappointment with the game is the disparity I’ve seen between playing in the city and in the suburbs. In my suburban town, Pokéstops and Gyms aren’t quite walking distance, so you’d typically have to drive around to make good use of your time. In the city though, Pokéstops were often within a few hundred feet of one another, making it easy to collect Pokéballs and Pokémon Eggs without having to cover quite as much ground on foot or worry about having to drive from stop to stop.
That’s certainly not keeping people from playing the game, of course. The gyms in my town have been going back and forth between players and I saw quite a few people with their phones out at the Pokéstop closest to my house over the weekend as well.
As someone who grew up with Pokémon Red/Blue, Pokémon Cards, and the anime, watching current, new, and lapsed fans take the game out into the world has been a joy. While the game’s longevity is yet to be tested, Pokémon Go‘s first week has been a huge success. If Niantic – Pokémon Go‘s developer – is able to keep the game fresh by adding new Pokémon/items/locations/etc into the mix, we could be talking about this game for quite some time…
Have you been playing Pokémon Go? What do you like and dislike about it so far? Let us know in the comments below!