Pokemon GO GO GO!
Pokemon GO was finally released in Japan last Friday. I wasn't going to partake, as I was already sick and tired of other people talking about it. However, I soon relented and was hooked by the end of the day. Now I can't go anywhere without hunting for a Poke or two, running down my battery in an effort to catch them all. Or, more realistically, fifteen Doduos and a dozen Pinsirs.
Before GO came along, I knew next to nothing of Pokemon. It was that game that children played, the one with Pikachu and the boy in the red hat. I missed it at inception and never cared to catch up. GO educated me, earning a spot in my phone-checking routine (LINE > Emails > Pokemon > Twitter > Data Usage) and teaching me the difference between a Bulbasaur and an Ivysaur. Our house is PG mad, as my wife is also hopelessly addicted. Just yesterday, I caught her checking out external phone batteries online. We've taken more family walks in the last week than all of the last year, and we've been blessed with a Pokestop right outside our living room window.
Peeking through our curtains, we've seen people of all ages stop to claim their balls. Kids, grown-ups, the elderly; the postlady, the binmen and the taxi drivers who pull up for the briefest of moments to grab their goods. I'll admit, at first I tried to hide my app of choice, but now I play freely, unashamed of my childish habit. The parks are packed with trainers, and gyms are increasingly populated with impossibly high powered monsters and their high level masters. Don't these people have jobs?
Honestly, Pokemon is still a bit shit. Pikachu and Squirtle are cute, but some of the creature designs are downright embarrassing, as are many of their names. Geodude? Fuck right off. The servers are unreliable, the maps broken and the nearby guide has shifted from nonsensical to thoroughly pointless. And it's not really much of a game, is it? I very much doubt GO will convince me to play a proper Pokemon.
But it doesn't matter. I'm hooked, for now. The urge to collect and complete is strong, even if I have little interest in the competitive aspect of GO. The desire to capture just one more Snufflebollocks so I can evolve a Stephen is what keeps me coming back for more. That and the constant fear that I may miss something special should I forget to check my phone.
It's unlikely to last beyond the summer, though, as mobile games go, that's pretty good for me. I may even hang around a bit longer if they release a new batch of Pokemon into the wild or introduce a new feature or two.
Pokemon. Who'd have thought it?