Pokemon still GOing?

Written by on 25th January 2018

Abi Fernandez looks back on augmented reality game that took over summer 2016 – and many are still playing it.

Pokemon GO. What is it? It is an augmented reality game that took over our summer. Simple. If you haven’t heard of it, it is a free app for your smartphone, which came out in July 2016. You go around and catch Pokemon as if they were in the real world. You can even pick your own teams at the start which are Instinct, Mystic and Valor, where you take over gyms as a representative of your team. Being a famous childhood game, it made it more intriguing and interesting, which naturally called out to the people that used to play the game.

Fredrick Luzon, 22, from Ashington, found it “refreshing.” He said: [It] reminded me of my childhood. Me, my brother and my best mates played it every single day. It was during our summer and we had nothing else to do.”

For me, it was great timing releasing the game during summer. It made walking and bus rides more fun because I could try to catch Pokemon. Trying to catch them all gave a feeling of success – which could have encouraged more people to get out and walk. Frederick added: “I even saw grandparents walking around with their grandkids playing pogo.”

Technology has caused a gap between generations and this game does the opposite and helps people and relatives get closer. Robert Fletcher, 67 from Newcastle said: “It helps me get out and get exercise.” Joanna Lever, 67, from Consett in County Durham added: “It’s something to do that can be done alone or in company. At its best it involves companionable days out with loads of walking and climbing! So it’s social and physical exercise. Raids are a fun way to bring people together.” Another plus point for the game – it encouraged many people to play video games not just by themselves but also with other people, creating a way for people to bond.

However, the game has many more ways to improve. Joanne Hodgson, 25, from Durham said: “…the game is managed pretty well however it would be useful if Niantic brought out trading so I can pinch some of my friends Pokemon.”

The game was very popular during summer but as time went by, it died out. For me, it started to get boring, but according to Frederick Luzon, it is “because Niantic didn’t listen to their fans. They kept making bad updates. They kept bringing out content that players don’t want and need.”

Weather stopped players. Frederick added: “Because of winter, no one wants to go out and play because it’s cold, dark and wet.” And money also affected player’s attitudes towards the game – as you can spend real money to be more advanced. Joanna Lever, added: “It can be too easy to spend real money.” Joanne also said the game “drains your phone battery”. While Red Timbang, 23, from Ashington said that it was “too repetitive,” so it “got boring”. He also added “there isn’t much content” which lead him to stop playing the game.

Despite its limitations, people from Sunderland and all over the North East do still play the game that took over our summer more than two years ago – with many Facebook groups around for people to update each other on where they find certain Pokemon. These groups are a way for people who play the game to connect. It is safe to say that Pokemon Go is still out there and you never know, it might catch us again by surprise.

Article Originally Appeared in Spark Magazine. 

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