By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
The big talk lately about Pokémon GO is in the millions no longer playing the game faster than me catching another Drowzee. I’m also slowing down since the gameplay is mostly about grinding for candies to power up my best fighting force. I’m close to giving up on trying to catch them all since nobody can (to do so means travelling around the world). Unless a truly interactive element is added to this game, this product will fade fast. The biggest item everyone wants is a proper tracking mechanism. If it does not turn into another type of recreational activity, like geocaching to help find the legendary pocket monsters like they are valued treasures, then I do not think this game will go far.
Augmented reality does not mean these pocket monsters simply appear at random. I’d love to see an added science element where if you study where a Pokémon appears and reappears (in theory, some die-hard players say biomes exist, but I see no rhyme or reason behind when Snorax or Onyx appears) then predicting where they might walk to next can be fun. Chasing a moving target like hide and go seek can potentially be interesting when breadcrumbs are being left behind.
To nail lots of rare Pokémon in a short time means I have to give up all my other hobbies. Multiple visits are required just to nail enough of that particular Pokémon to create a decent fighter to use in Poké Gym battles. Just how some players have managed to catch/make that 2400CP Lapras is beyond me. Either they have no life or have invested far more time than I have just to find / make that ultra powerful pocket monster.
Capturing a bundle of the same creature to power up goes against the spirit of the animated series. I believe this cartoon set the benchmark for what this franchise is about instead of just the original game. Even with Pokemon Red and Blue, the player is working often with that starter bestie than giving it up for a stronger version.
I miss the fun factor found in Nintendo’s Pokémon XY, where you can interact with the six main pocket monsters the hero carries. In this game, you can feed them, play games with them and pet them — like Bandai’s Tamagotchi. By carefully raising a select six (or one), they can improve or gain new skills within the game.
These improved warriors can make for a huge difference when trying to take over Pokémon Gyms. Over a month of playing, I find this mobile game treats these cute companions as disposable product — what’s tossed is turned into candy to level up or evolve a particular genus of a caught Pokémon. Players have no empathy to the pocket monsters they are catching. The starter critter the trainer gets at the beginning is most likely going to be ditched when a higher powered version is found in the wild.
The Pikachu I found elsewhere became my new best friend over what was offered when I first started this game. Sadly, this product is promoting a hard fact of only the strong will get far and that’s not a good message to be sending to young players enamoured with the game.
I played the original DS games and the story is about the journey both trainer and his chosen pet embark upon together. The bond that’s forged is heavily emphasized in the anime. Ash Ketchum protected and loved Pikachu even when this critter was reluctant to accept him as master early in series one. Without a few new ways to play this game in the future, like in what I detailed in part one of this article, I think this product will fade away by the year’s end.
2 thoughts on “Ed’s Pokémon GO Journals — How Can This Game Evolve? (Part Two)”
It’s getting a frustrating game to play, as my dex gets slowly closer to completion (although at 101 it has a way to go) the same old grinding and continually hatching paras is getting a tedious affair. There are certainly a lot less players already. Will be good to see how the buddy system pans out I guess.
I’m hoping the new “buddy” feature will not be too late in coming. I heard rumours it might be coming in the next update (this week maybe), and am holding off on making trips across the city should this be the case. It’ll be handy to get the “last three” sacrificial lambs before evolving, and hope it won’t get abused too much to power up those Dragonites.