Pokemon GO has been out for only a short while, yet is has already proven to be a dream come true for many Pokemon fans around the world. There’s just something about being able to go on your own real adventure as you strive to be the very best (like no one ever was, of course). The game has captivated millions already and will only continue to grow as Niantic rolls the app out across more nations.
What has made Pokemon GO such a success may be attributed to more than it just being a game, though. While players have been eagerly exploring their neighborhoods they’ve found that there is more to the experience than just being glued to your device’s screen and finding out where that darn Pikachu that keeps popping up on your radar is. It turns out that a big portion of the experience is actually the part you share with others.
As you already know, Pokemon GO uses GPS to determine where in your neighborhood you will encounter PokeStops, Gyms, and the Pokemon themselves. Everyone who lives nearby or visits your neighborhood will be directed to the same locations. That means popular spots end up becoming a sort of social gathering, especially Gyms since you need to stand by them to interact and can’t leave until you’re finished. As players sit there tapping away at their screen to either train up their own team’s Gym or try to take down the Gym of another, a gathering ensues.
Naturally, with all of the excitement around the game, this leads to conversation as everyone starts comparing Pokemon, checking out levels, and learning tips from other players. Bonds are formed, friendships are forged, and new adventures begin. Of course, forming friendships through video games is nothing new. Even games like Call of Duty and Destiny, well known for their highly competitive player base, allow for it to happen. But Pokemon GO puts it right in front of you. It forces you to get out there, and through those travels, you will meet others on the same quest you are.
Jumping on a server and meeting someone through chat is one thing, and certainly shouldn’t be played down, but there’s just something about meeting and then joining a perfect stranger on an actual adventure. Learning new areas of your neighborhood, walking through parks, and spotting all of these adorable little critters has been helping thousands of players make new friends.
On top of helping fans make new friends, Pokemon GO is keeping players active. One aspect of gaming that has led to quite a few naysayers arguing that sitting doesn’t promote a healthy lifestyle. That is certainly not a complaint one can reasonably levy against Pokemon GO.
As we’ve already mentioned, the game requires you to move about the real world, traveling to locations where certain types of Pokemon are more likely to congregate. This means walking through parks, visiting industrial areas, checking out nearby bodies of water, and just basically moving around. While there are methods to participate in the catching part of the game without leaving your home, the main draws, such as Gym battles, still require you get a bit of fresh air. Pokemon GO is doing something that other companies and industries have been trying to do for years, getting people out of the house.
The best part is that it incentivizes players to move about. You can hatch eggs that can potentially provide rare Pokemon, you can check out Gyms, receive free items that would normally prove to be pretty expensive, and meet new people. The entire experience revolves around you and that shows that the developer recognizes that Pokemon GO could be so much more than just a fun time.
It’s amazing what Pokemon GO has accomplished in such a short time, especially when you consider that it doesn’t even have all of its features just yet. It is already building bonds and helping players explore the world. Once trades and more direct interaction with far away players get implemented, as well as the next wave of Pokemon, the game will only become bigger. It is becoming a phenomenon that may just transcend video games if early signs are anything to go by. It’s been quite some time since an element of popular culture has completely ensnared so many people on a unified quest, and we can’t wait to see where Pokemon GO takes us next.