Since it launched last Wednesday, Pokémon Go has taken the word by storm. In less than a week, it’s become one of the biggest mobile games of all time; as big of a phenomenon as the original Game Boy games back in 1998 (North America). It’s reach and influence is spans gamers, non-gamers, young, old, boy, girl; everyone everywhere it seems is chasing these little imaginary pocket monsters. When it was first announced a couple years ago, I though no way would I play this game. I like video games because I can sit comfortably on my couch and not be bothered by the outside world; escape the real world for a few hours at least. Boy, was I mistaken. Today alone, I spent four hours combing through neighborhoods, up and down streets, in and out of backyards and through deep woods just to find one Bulbasaur that has eluded me up until now.
This is a special game, undoubtedly. Here are my top five favorite things I’ve encountered since Pokémon Go’s release.
- Fitness app
Aside from being one of the best mobile experiences available on your iPhone, it’s also one of the best fitness apps around – an unintended consequence of Niantic’s game I’m sure. Nerds of all sizes are leaving the safety of their gaming dungeons and traveling for miles and miles in an effort to “be the very best like no one every was.” The hundreds of calories they burn are for sure being recovered later than night – a dozen or so Hot Pockets will do the trick – but for some, Pokémon Go is their salvation for an otherwise lackluster fitness regimen.
- See the world
As I said previously, I like to resign myself to the warmth and relaxation of my couch when I play video games. It’s a decidedly solo experience in which I stare at a bright screen for hours, seeing nothing but an imaginary world that I’ll never have the chance to visit for myself. A core aspect of Pokémon Go is traveling deep into the real world to catch newer and greater monsters. It’s imperative for you to leave even the familiarity of your own town, both to catch the best Pokémon unavailable in your immediate residence and to visit
every Pokéstop and challenge every Gym you can find. To do as Pokémon’s catch phrases tells you and “collect ’em all,” you have to trek farther than you’re used to traveling, see things you’re not used to seeing and, essentially, break the boundaries of your comfort zone to become a Pokémon Master. You might think to yourself as I did, “why would I go out of my way to play this stupid little mobile game?” But once you catch that first Charmander in your backyard, you’ll move mountains to get all 150.
- Real life Pokémon
Ever since Professor Oak handed me my first Charmander (I love Fire Pokémon), not a day’s gone by where I haven’t dreamt of real life Pokémon. Capturing, collecting, befriending and battling real life animals in real life cities and towns was without a doubt a fantasy of every kid growing up during the late 90s. While these virtual beasts are far from real life, Pokémon Go is the closest thing we’ll ever get to living our Poké dreams.
- OG Pokémon only
With over 700 of these fuckers and more on the way every year, there’s no way Niantic could have included every single one and expected the world not to burn. They took Pokémon back to basics, featuring only the original 150, which is muchly appreciated by Pokémon purists, myself included. I’ve been a loyal Pokémon fan for almost my whole life, but every new adventure on the Game Boy, DS and now 3DS includes crazier and crazier critters that don’t even come close to looking as great as the original designs. I have zero interest in spending hours tracking down a chandelier-looking shit or a trash bag with eyes when I have both of those objects in my home already.
- Funny memes
Some stories coming out about people’s experience with Pokémon Go are insane and very hilarious. Between finding dead bodies and breaking into neighbor’s
backyards, this game is making people do some seriously kooky stuff. But my favorite pieces of media from Pokémon Go are the great memes and pictures of Pokémon in AR. Funerals, delivery rooms and just ironic places in general make Pokémon Go’s AR function a meme machine.