Kent Springborn Jr.
Pokémon has recently celebrated its 20th anniversary and with the North American release of the mobile game, Pokémon Go, on July 6, there has been a recent resurgence of interest in the franchise. The app has been
downloaded by more than 130 million people worldwide, making it one of the most used apps in 2016 just within its first few months of release. One of the major selling points to those who have downloaded the game is that there is an augmented reality feature that places a virtual Pokémon into the real world via the phone’s camera. This makes it as though there is an actual Pokémon directly in front of the player.
There has been a mix of new and old fans of Pokémon playing the game and it has encouraged people to get out and be active while also catching various Pokémon. Many fans of the franchise were excited at the prospect of being able to go out and catch Pokémon. “I was pretty happy that everyone around the world that was a Pokémon fan was finally going to be able to be a ‘Pokémon Trainer’ in real life,” said Nicole Roberts, a Culinary Arts major at LCCC, “I was pretty excited to play, especially when it would influence exercise as well as getting me out of the house. I thought it would be a very positive thing.” Roberts has been a Pokémon fan since she can remember and chalks it up to her dad and older sister for getting her into the franchise.
However, not everything surrounding Pokémon Go has been positive. There have been reports of people trespassing and not being attentive while playing the game. It has gotten to the point where Niantic, the game’s developer, has added warning messages at the startup of the game telling players “Do Not Trespass,” “Be Aware of Your Surroundings,” and “Don’t Drive While Playing Pokémon Go.” Niantic has also been working on fixing a few bugs and issues with the game that haven’t quite worked out or received negative feedback.
One of Niantic’s recent updates took away a feature that would inform players how far away a Pokémon was from them. According to Niantic, the reason this feature was taken out was due to the fact that it didn’t exactly work. When this update rolled out, a lot of fans were upset and felt that it made it more difficult to locate Pokémon.
There have also been instances where players set their phones’ GPS and so they don’t have to leave their house or be active in order to catch Pokémon. Niantic has responded to these players and in some cases, they’ve permanently banned them from playing Pokémon Go. “I’m glad that Niantic is doing their best to stop cheaters,” said Roberts in response to hearing this, “Playing a game how it’s supposed to be played is better than breaking it.”
Roberts believes that there are some players who have taken the game too seriously and have taken it a bit too far when it comes to trash-talking other players who are on other teams than they are. “That’s when you’ve taken it too far. You can trash talk for fun and just have fun with people, but actually going out of your way to hurt people because of the team they chose is just wrong,” Roberts said, “All I can say is ‘It’s just a game, treat it as such.’”
Despite all of the negative reactions towards some aspects of Pokémon Go, it still has the honor of being one of the most downloaded apps within its first few months of release and it has taken the franchise’s catch phrase of “Gotta Catch ‘Em All!” to a whole new different level and meaning than it has been in years.