Pokemon GO: catch ’em all?


Hannah Anderson, Reporter

“I wanna be the very best, like no one ever was.” For a lot of students, this song lyric was a childhood motto of sorts. Even if a student doesn’t personally play Pokemon GO, they have certainly heard of it. This location-based augmented reality game has been taking most of the world by storm since its U.S. release date in July of 2016.

But what is Pokemon GO? And who is playing it?

Simply put, the game was made to get people to be more active. In this game a player makes an avatar, chooses a team and sets out to ‘catch em’ all’. Different Pokemon species are found in different areas, so in order to excel in the game, a player has to go out into the world around them and explore. Along the journey, Pokemon GO offers Poke Stops which are attached to real-world locations. These stops reward the player with goodies and experience points that can be helpful throughout the game.

Gyms are the other major piece of the Pokemon GO puzzle. Much like the Poke Stops, the gyms are also attached to real-world locations. Gyms offer battling other teams and earning prestige for your own team. If the player wins, they leave a Pokemon in the gym and collect a defender’s bonus of ten Pokecoins which can be used in the game’s in-app store as well as experience points.

Although it may be perceived as a children’s game, 20 million users log in each day. Among those millions, 78% are aged 18-27, according to Gamespot.com. With this large demographic of young adults, some may not see the appeal.

“I play the game because it’s fun. It does take me back to my childhood because Pokemon was what I did back then. If you played it when you were a kid this is what you always dreamed of, catching Pokemon in real life. I know that’s nerdy but hey what’s not cool about being able to reconnect with your inner child. It’s also one of those things that actually connected people with each other, whether it’s all rushing to catch a good Pokemon or finding someone of the same team to take a gym together, it’s that tiny social aspect,” said eighteen-year-old Jared Hickey, “It can help people come together with something in common, that if it wasn’t there, these people would have never crossed paths. Plus it makes people go outside which people need to do more of these days.”

There are actually Pokemon GO meetups where trainers sign up through Facebook and get together with other people to go exploring. These events are commonly organized weekly. By exploring the community through this game, students can form unity with people they normally would never speak to.

“Aside from it being fun, I think it’s a really good way to get people out of the house, walking dogs, being with friends, exercising, etc,” said senior Tate Torgerson.

Not everyone has the same opinion of the game though.

“It wasn’t as fun as everyone says and there were so many problems with the game that it was more tiring dealing with it than actually walking around and playing it,” said senior Brittney Nguyen.

With the game’s faulty servers and no way to track Pokemon, it can be frustrating at times.

“This is a precarious house of cards built on a wobbly foundation of nostalgia,” wrote Kallie Plagge of ign.com.

No matter a student’s opinion of the game, it’s a virtual reality that must be experienced first hand to fully understand the hype.