One year and two days ago, Pokemon Go reinvented the mobile gaming landscape and reignited a craze that has gone on for over two decades. But in the wake of early crashes and frenzied, frustrated players, how far has the game come, and how much further must it go not only to satisfy its fans but also to survive?
In this retrospective, we will confront the major problems still blighting players and lay forth some suggestions for how Nintendo and Niantic can overcame these ails. In particular, we will focus on three themes: player engagement through playing together, the updated Gym system and the game’s multiple currencies, and the inequality perpetuated by the game mechanics themselves.
I have a confession to make: I didn’t study for my algebraic topology midterm because I couldn’t stop playing Pokemon.
The truth is, for the last eighteen years (and I’m turning 27, so that’s two-thirds of my life), Pokemon has been one of the few constants from year to year: Pokemon was there when I played with my friends in Hebrew school; Pokemon was there when my parents my separated and I went back and forth between my parents houses while my mom was at school; and Pokemon was there when I began college myself and needed something, or anything, to pass the time when I wasn’t studying.
And Pokemon was also there when I should’ve been studying last week. In fact, Pokemon–in its many iterations–has been keeping me from homework for a long time.
Sometimes we’ve got a weight on our shoulders, keeping us down and preventing us from moving forward, and sometimes it’s more of a weight in our pockets–we feel it, and it’s not going anywhere, but we’ve got to carry it forward until we’re able to let it go.
Letting go isn’t always an option in our control. Right now the monstrous weight in my pocket is the wait to marry the man I love, just to see him again: we’re a binational couple going through the immigration process, and even though this burden grows heavier every day, we can do nothing to set it down any sooner–it’s in the hands of someone else.
So we do what we can to pass the time. This is how I’ve carried these pocket monsters.
Have you ever started writing with a point in mind, and noticed by the time you finished writing you’d never really gotten there? Earlier this week I wrote a post about mourning monsters–reflecting on the inspiration that childhood pastimes like Pokemon and Digimon gave me (and continue to give me)–but that hadn’t been my intent.
Not my original intent anyways.
Instead I wanted to write something wild. A story of man against nature.
I lack the gravitas to make light of a serious situation. More so I lack the gusto to make a light situation serious. Yet of late, lightness has ruled my days: Against my own wishes, I have slept in later than desired all week, and once I’m awake, old obsessions mesmerize my mind and threaten to steal every ounce of sanity.
Perhaps it’s my summer sloth slowing me down, or perhaps there’s more at stake.
Today officially began my semester. I woke up before the sun (but not as early as yesterday) and trudged out to my first course. I left earlier than I actually had to and therefore was almost an hour early.
I took my seat casually, somewhat thankful I wasn’t the first one there. I withdrew my iPad to fiddle with for a bit, eager to distract myself, yet still eager for classes to begin.
Had I known what the day would bring, I’d have felt differently.
Or, the Brief If Long-Awaited Return of Pokemon Wednesday
One of my earliest memories is playing the NES in our living room or watching as my siblings make Mario run through worlds and worlds of varying difficulty, envious of how much better they were than I was. I remember, when we lived in upstate New York, getting the hand-me-down NES games from a neighbor and I remember being at friends’ houses and watching them in awe on the Genesis and SNES.
Then I remember my grandparents coming up to North Carolina near my tenth birthday, but before I can get to this, let me take a step back. I remember, in religious school, watching the older children crowding around their Game Boys, playing this awesome new game called Pokemon. It blew my mind away, how fun it looked! And then my best friend got the game and I wanted that game.
It’s no longer Wednesday, at least not technically (though I’ll go on feeling like it’s Wednesday until I finally go to sleep and wake up on Thursday), but since I’ve been tossing the idea for this post around all day, and since it will no longer be immediately relevant next Wednesday, I’m going to go for it anyways. Don’t you just love lengthy exposition at the beginning of each post?
Today, I turned twenty-one. The big 2 to the 1. The blackjack. The…uh…okay, that’s all I’ve got.
Or in fewer words: Legal.
See, sums it all up, doesn’t it? Though, uh, doesn’t seem very Pokemon-like, does it?
When I was younger (and by all regards, I’m still young–don’t get me wrong–but bear with me please), Hebrew school was the cornerstone of my life. “Wait,” you say, “this is Pokemon Wednesday. What’s Hebrew school got to do with it?” I’ll get there. I repeat: Bear with me please. My mother, kitchen manager of my synagogue, and my sister, attending college ten minutes across town, simultaneously set the stage for me to spend most of my days (at least, as memory serves; fact itself may differ accordingly) trapped in my synagogue’s social hall doing schoolwork, reading, wandering around aimlessly as I fantasised about worlds I’ve still yet to commit to paper, and–here it comes–playing Pokemon. Although many great things I’ve accredited to this confinement, the one in particular I choose to recall today is the only one of relevance here: The conjunction between Pokemon and Hebrew school.