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Pokemon Go and the Quest for World Peace
Whatever happened to Pokemon Go? Why is it now called Pokeman Gone?
There's alot of speculation regarding its fall from grace...techies cite bugs in the system, corporate analysts say it was launched too quickly without a plan for growth.
I think it's simply a game made for fair weather and fair weather friends: time off from school, space in the schedule for actual friends to emerge from virtual venues to "come out and play". And I think it will plunge us into action again when school's out for the summer.
Pokémon GO wasn’t on the minds of many of us, or really any of us here in the U.S. before it came out in early July. I remember waking up that Wednesday morning, July 6, like it was any other usual morning. I got on the computer and saw a single article announcing the release of Nintendo’s latest craze. In a mere few hours, the game spread faster than wildfire. I’d never seen something catch on that fast. When I got back on the computer a few hours later, that one article had bloomed into dozens upon dozens of raves and reviews. If this isn’t the epitome of popularity, I don’t know what is.
There are few things adored by gamers and geeks that can cross from their realm into the world of mainstream entertainment. Pokémon, definitely, is one of those few things. I have never seen something make such huge advances into the lives of “regular” people in all my years of being a certified video game addict. It’s almost surreal.
I still picture the people sitting next to me in the subway, clad in their expensive business suits or their classy blouses, playing this game. This Pokémon game changed everything; I think it may be giving way to a whole new ”walkaround” video game genre.
Not only does it seem to be twisting the world from whence it came, but it brought about some actual difference in the physical world, which is something that has almost never been accomplished with other large video game franchises.
My own experience with the game was nothing short of what you hear in the many fun and positive accounts everywhere online. Playing with my good friend, junior Sam, I embarked on a three-and-a-half hour journey that taught me exactly why this game is so massively successful.
We started our journey going through the quick tutorial and catching a Charmander, which we agreed was a good choice.
Mere minutes into our adventure, we were already gripped by a decision. Which direction to walk? North, toward Stuy, or east, toward the Brooklyn Bridge? Both directions seemed promising, the in-game map displaying groups and groups of bright pink lures. A critical decision, however: one location could bring us glory, yet the other could bring us annoyance and some overly abundant Magikarp.
As we played, the game continuously taunted us by informing us of rare Pokémon nearby, which then translated into us having to make more of these decisions. Though a player could always go back in the other direction, the game seems to lure you further in the other direction with more promises of rare and fresh PokéStops, where we could stock up on items and log new locations in our achievements. We ended up going toward Stuy and finding a bunch of Magikarp. Figures.
Though we didn’t find anything good on the trip to Stuyvesant high chool in Manhattan, we encountered something on our way back that really showed me what this game could do besides entertain. In a group of four lures clustered closely together in our very own Nelson A. Rockefeller Park, Sam and I found dozens upon dozens of people sitting around. At first, we thought it was just some normal evening in the park, until I heard someone call out, “There’s a Haunter over here!” and then, “Oh, there’s an Eevee over here!”
We quickly realized that this was an unofficial gathering of Pokémon GO players that we had only stumbled across due to the sheer amount of lures active in the area.
I realized something more: this game really does have power beyond simply giving people something to do and further popularizing the Pokémon franchise. This game actually made people go out of their way to walk around, and actually gave people either the courage or the motivation to interact with complete strangers for one simple, common cause.
That may seem trivial to those who didn’t grow up in Manhattan, but this is the first time I ever saw groups of strangers going out of their way to help other people whom they were competing with. This experience made me feel better about our society in general. If watch the news, you would think we are a city of violence, racism, and homophobia. But when you play Pokémon GO, it seems like most everyone has a friendly, cooperative side.
Now that this side had been revealed by the hit game, it became apparent that, if translated into a larger, more meaningful scale, this deep ability of many to treat strangers better than, well, strangers, could be used to really improve our world. I know all of this seems silly, coming from an experience I had in some mobile game, but just think about it. If people can do so well together for such a small cause, with enough effort, don’t you think this could be projected onto larger issues? If you think big enough, it’s totally possible.
So, Pokémon GO. A revolutionary game idea? Just another fad? Or is it something bigger? Something that can demonstrate the best side of humanity that secretly exists under the surface? Is it just something to waste a little bit of time on the subway, or is it the start of the emergence of a better part of society and a better way of getting things accomplished? As the days heat up and the schoolwork cools down, we shall find out that Pokemon Go springs back to life and springs eternal.