When Pokemon GO came out, everyone was playing it. Everyone I knew – young, old, long-time gaming nerds or first-time players – were staring at their phones, and the streets were flooded with Pokemon trainers. I’ve been playing Pokemon games since Red and Blue came out in the 90s, and GO felt like the beginning of a whole new era of gaming. It was exciting.
I chose Team Valor – inspired by Candela and her values on Pokemon and their strength. It was fun that there was a natural rivalry between players based on the teams they chose, and I have fond memories of sitting in parks and restaurants with my friends and catching Pokemon and fighting gyms whilst we chatted away.
Like with any trend, eventually interest died down, and people went back to scrolling Instagram instead. Still, a community of Pokemon fans continued to follow the app, and I found myself among them. These are the reasons why I’m still playing a game that most people stopped talking about two years ago:
It promotes fitness
I can succumb to laziness very easily, despite being a keen walker. It is very hard to get much out of Pokemon GO unless you leave the house. Walking hatches eggs, and spawns a variety of different Pokemon, as well as rewarding you for spinning different Poke stops. Newer updates reward players weekly too for walking 5km, 25km and 50km. Your phone can sense when you are travelling too fast and stops counting your distance and spawning Pokemon, so you can’t just sit on the train or bus to get those miles in. I love the concept that a game I enjoy is doing good things for my body.
My experiences of Pokemon GO have never been solitary ones. The game still has a very dedicated community, committed to educating its members and arranging meet-ups. Raids encourage players to travel to locations with friends to fight legendary Pokemon you can’t find anywhere else, and I can name multiple times where I have attended a raid with ten or more other players. Community days are run frequently, giving players opportunities to catch new or shiny Pokemon, a good chance to hit the spawn hotspots with other players.
It is a low-cost hobby
Although there are in-game purchases, you can get everything you need as long as you are willing to walk for them. It is only recently I put some money into the app for some intense weekends of raiding, but for an exercise app I use daily, this still comes out cheaper than spending once a week at your local gym. You can generate free in-game currency on a daily basis anyway if you pop Pokemon into gyms.
The game is constantly updated, the graphics are on par with the handheld games, and I get to play it with my friends. Can a Pokemon fan ask for much more?
Are you still playing Pokemon GO? Comment below!