For those of you who don’t know yet, on Wednesday evening, Nintendo and the Pokemon Company unveiled Pokemon Go for iPhones and Android devices. Set to release in 2016 for no charge, Pokemon Go will blend AR Pokemon, GPS, and social gaming to convince mobile users to catch em’ all. For everyone else who already knows, HOLY SHIT! I KNOW, RIGHT?!
When I was 8 years old, I watched the Pokemon anime, collected (and actually played) Pokemon cards, played the videogames, and was a fan of the Japanese Gundam-style toys. My Pokemon fandom wasn’t anything special to the adults in my family, considering that every other kid in the world seemed to like Pokemon, too. However, it was pretty damn special to me. I played my Red and Blue versions tirelessly and knew everything there was to know. You could’ve asked me at what level any Pokemon evolved, what level they learned a new attack, how to get infinite rare candies, and I would’ve given you the best and correct answer. It was a serious problem for me, but worse for the kids around me it seemed. One time in fifth grade, I actually convinced a kid by the name of Victor that an actual living, breathing pikachu was walking down the street.
“Victor, I’m serious! Look!” -9 years old Edwin
“Nah Foo! You’re lying!” -Victor
“Dude, hurry up! He’s using quick attack or agility!” -9 year old Edwin
(Gets up from his desk, goes outside, looks so sad after realizing that what I said is impossible) “Man!” -Victor
I feel bad about that still. Why? Because if someone told me that my dream of living in the Pokemon world came true, I’d be skeptical but momentarily thrilled. I can see it now… flying on my Pigeot to blockbuster, using my Gyarados to surf me to Hawaii, training my Charmander to use flamethrower on BBQs pits and bullies, using Goldeen to make sushi, trying to free Dewgongs from Sea World, and collecting badges and all the Pokemon. I think I just traced the origin of my hoarding problem. I knew that existing in this fictional world wasn’t possible but I felt that the videogames could “evolve” to a point where I’d feel like the world of Pokemon exists. I seemed like the designers were taking baby steps to accomplish this for me, but I think with the announcement of Pokemon Go, we may already be there. The trailer gives the impression that GO will bring people together and make Pokemon accessible to an unimaginable wide range or users, the way the franchise originally took off in the late 90’s. The idea of scheduled events to catch a rare Pokemon with friends and strangers is a dream come true for a long time Pocket Monsters fan like myself. The moments of battling a stranger on the go are moments I can’t wait for. I’m aware we can do this with the RPGs, but it’s a whole process. Way more people have smart phones on them at all times than people who have a 3DS AND a copy of Pokemon with them. Now with Pokemon Go, everyone can be a trainer. I can only imagine that the trailer is being honest and showing that battles will be seamless, almost bringing the true feel of Pokemon to life. Friendships could form or be destroyed, relationships may spawn, and some may end due to addiction to Pokemon Go. I can’t wait! Pokemon Go releases in 2016.