“Pokémon Go” released in North America about a week ago, and already it is getting gamers of all ages off their couches and into the world hoping to catch a few elusive rare creatures.
Over 20 years ago, a video game company called Game Freak created one of the most iconic experiences in video gaming, Pokémon. The game centered around a lone protagonist as he traversed an expansive land seeking every single unique Pokémon available. The gameplay was simple, but had layers that could be discovered by the player.
Simply put, the player moves around the game world and every so often a creature would jump from the bushes and attack the player. After a short battle to weaken the attacking creature, it was up to the player to use a Pokéball and capture it for their collection.
The creatures, which vary in size and moves, could be put together in a team of six to be used for battling. Other trainers, leaders of gyms and even the malevolent force “Team Rocket” could be fought with the creatures captured. Many additional features were added throughout the years as newer and better looking Pokémon games were released. Of course, all of these were on a system, and were designed to be played using a monitor of some sort. This changed last week though as Pokémon Go is a game unlike any other in the series.
The newest game uses a cellphone with an internet connection and a GPS locator to help the player find Pokémon in their real world neighborhood or city. This game encourages exploration and has features that help with tracking creatures. Even in Washington Court House, residents are beginning to pick up their phones and walk around the city to find Pokémon.
“Pokémon Go does a lot of things right,” Kyle Jay, a graphic designer and Fayette County resident, said recently. “Not only has it gotten a lot of inactive young adults out and about, it’s bringing people together who would never otherwise bother to socialize. Individuals from every background and lifestyle can find common ground searching, catching, and collecting the variety of monsters available in their area. Unfortunately, the app itself is lackluster. With constant server outages (no doubt from overuse) and sometimes confusing or unresponsive user interface issues, people playing in public often spend more time actually talking to the people around them. I can’t say that’s a bad thing, but as a gamer, I expect my games to be playable, and Pokemon Go barely hits that mark. Regardless of its shortcomings, Pokemon Go is a new age experience and I believe we can expect to see more in this new genre as time goes on. “
The new game has some different features compared to the past titles, including a unique gym battling system that requires a player to choose a team and then help to defend the gyms with other members of their team. Currently there are several gyms in the area, including Carnegie Public Library, the Courthouse, and the Bloomingburg Town Hall. Also unique to Pokémon Go are Pokéstops, locations in the real world that are marked by a special icon.
Pokéstops in the city are numerous, and some may still have not been found, but the post office, several local churches and the Fayette County Historical Society Museum are just a few of the local stops. By visiting these stops, players can read any information available about the location and spin a coin on their cellphone screen for free items, such as Pokéballs, egg incubators and potions for battling.
This app can be appreciated by residents of all ages, but it is highly suggested by the app creators, Niantic, that if someone wants to go exploring for Pokémon that they take a buddy along and stay aware of their surroundings. Blending exercise with entertainment, this app is sure to provide enjoyment to the many who “Gotta Catch ‘Em All.”
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy