In the time that Pokémon GO has been out, people have been gathering outside in numbers unseen since before the introduction of the television. Seeing and meeting so many people wandering the streets all with a single goal in mind is an absolute pleasure.
The community centred nature of Pokémon GO has caused gatherings to be an extremely popular attraction. The latest of which was held just a few hours ago. Hosted by the Southern Cross Austerio radio network, the gathering saw people from all over Australia gather at key locations within their cities. I ventured down to mingle with the crowd at the local Canberra FM104.7 managed event found at the fantastic science museum, Questacon. I took this opportunity to talk to a few of the gamers who had turned up, to join in the catching frenzy, to ask them a few questions about Pokémon, games and media.
Considering we are only 2 weeks into the release of Pokémon GO I figured this would be a great opportunity to share our experience with those who are in countries just getting the game now. (Welcome to the crowd Japan!) Many of those I talked with referenced the value in holding off using things like eggs and stardust until you are at a stage where it actually promotes the strength of your Pokémon. For example, holding off using your XP egg until you have a whole heap of Pokémon to evolve is a great way to get a whole chunk of experience. It was also frequently iterated to me that gatherings, like the one we were at, are a great way to catch more critters than you could possibly use.
The greatest piece of advice comes from Adam and Naomi who emphasised the value and the impact the community has on the game. Min-maxing your Pokémon, playing to be the best there ever was, may wear you down. They emphasised that the strength of this game is its power to bring people out and pull them together. Get out there and keep it fun. This is the most important thing for people just joining up, over time you will level up, but if you go too hard and fast then you may never get anywhere.
Get out there and keep it fun.
When asked about the aspects of the game that really took them in the most, nostalgia topped the list. Josh and Brenton, veteran geocachers and Ingress players, commented that even though the community is likely to be driven initially by the hype, the future prospects look solid. These kinds of games create communities. The regular events and gatherings help support this kind of community creation. Is is these groups that will create the foundation for the ongoing success of Pokémon GO into the future. They also mentioned the power that the three teams have when it comes to creating a balanced playing field. One of the issues that Ingress has had is the strength of one team versus another. By breaking players into three teams it now becomes much easier for any one team to become outnumbered and knocked down.
They also mentioned the power that the three teams have when it comes to creating a balanced playing field. One of the issues that Ingress has had is the strength of one team versus another. By breaking players into three teams it now becomes much easier for any one team to become outnumbered and knocked down. This means that often teams will be working with each other just as often as they are fighting each other. It is a very clever piece of design work.
I was curious to learn about what everyone (or at least some) thought about the way mainstream media presents Pokémon GO and its players. Many reports have come out in recent days which attribute many events, good and bad, to this new title. Reports have come out showing how Pokémon GO has helped people who would not normally be comfortable leaving home or talking to others. However, many news outlets have chosen to focus on the other side of the coin. They choose to explore the events which people claim are the fault of the game, such as walking off a cliff? Walking in front of cars? or getting lost in caves under a city? While it is undeniable that there are people who are easily distracted, there are people who are idiots and drive and catch, many wondered if this was more a symptom of people moving where they would normally be inside? The more people who are outside, the greater the chances of running into someone who will do something stupid. I think many would love to see more content exploring the benefits Pokémon GO has had on people. One couple I talked to mentioned that since the game has come out they have walked in excess of 100km. For people who have traditionally led a less energetic life, the prospects this offers for national health is significant.
That said, it is still important that people remember general safety and maintain an awareness of their surroundings. So everyone please remember to not do anything stupid. Don’t drive and Pokémon. Don’t walk in front of cars. Don’t walk into people, off cliffs or into walls and people. Please take your rubbish with you or put it in a bin. Show the greater community that this game is a stronger force for good than it is a distraction for evil.
Teams will be working with each other just as often as they are fighting each other
Finally, with the impending release of Pokèmon Sun & Moon, I wanted to know if anyone would be more likely to pick it up due to their time in Pokémon GO. Interestingly the general response was no. Many people came into this game through a nostalgia factor. Any new games will not have that same kind of emotional hook, that reason to get in there. That said, there were also a large number of people who had never played Pokemon before in attendance. Many of whom were introduced into the game with the help of a friend. It is this second group that never got into Pokémon where Nintendo has the most to gain.
The first series has been watched by many kids for the first time, taking hold in the same way it did for our youth. This is the audience that will start pushing for the new game. This is where people have been converted. This is where Pokémon GO might just save Pokémon for the new generation. This is the market breaking move that Nintendo needed, and Nintendo got.
Go Team Instinct! (Although I suppose the other two teams are okay too…)