Why Pokemon Go is Revolutionary and Why it Sucks

The release of Pokemon Go caused mass hysteria. Hundreds of nerds left their proverbial basements to explore the outdoors with their friends. To the outside observer Pokemon explorers looked like a bunch of young people walking around haphazardly staring at phones. Why is this game revolutionary? Beyond the touted and heavily reported “augmented reality” phrase tossed around, Pokemon Go was successful at getting gamers up and moving and physically present with their friends.

If you’re reading this blog you probably have some experience with gaming. You probably espouse the virtues of gaming as a way to connect with friends and family who live all over the place. I often explain to people those very facts. My brother lives hours and hours away yet we are able to communicate often, and in common interest, through party chats. However good it is to be able to communicate over a headset it is better to be with someone in person. Pokemon Go does this.

When Pokemon Go came out I was working at a summer camp. It quickly grew in popularity and I was amazed at what it did to the social situation on camp. People who orignially were not spending time together bonded over the game. Rivalries and alliances formed. Each team had a group chat which were used to coordinate gym take-overs. It was an amazing experience. All of these are revolutionary to me. People physically gaming together and coordinating that game in real life.

Pokemon Go sucks too. Struck with a myriad of problems at its launch, Pokemon Go and Niantic had to adjust on the fly. Updates to the game brought greater stability but cost us in player experience. Niantic lessened the circle of discovery around your player on the map, making it harder to find Pokemon. They also removed a broken feature as opposed to fixing it with the removal of the distance icons beneath the Pokemon in the Pokemon radar.

These updates lead me to believe that Niantic isn’t in the game for the user experience, but instead is in it for the money. With the announcement that businesses were going to be able to buy pokestops, and the declining novelty of the game, I’ve decided to stop playing.

Maybe I’ll return, but it’s unlikely. What do you think about Pokemon Go?

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