Much like a splashing Magikarp, “Pokémon Go” has plenty of potential, but is not quite fit for fighting just yet.
You see, for me, “Pokémon Go” is just another unique ride along that Poké-wave — and second coming of world domination by the Pocket Monsters, as they’re known in Japan. In its current form, it isn’t much of a game. The augmented reality experience lets would-be trainers walk around as a virtual avatar all across Rochester and the world.
At first, the game didn’t make sense to me, thanks to the app explaining virtually nothing. And trial by error wasn’t an option, thanks to the game’s servers always crashing. Just recently I was able to play for two hours at Silver Lake Park, and then an hour while on a walk from The Mayo (the Saint Marys campus) to Grand Rounds Brewpub (both The Tap House and Grand Rounds are Poké-hotspots; the ‘mons apparently share my interests). So that’s about four hours of time spent walking around, flicking balls at virtual creatures and taking the occasional photo because a Pokémon is in front of a fun backdrop in town.
And I see the potential. Do you remember the fish I mentioned earlier? Magikarp? Yeah, he’s a useless Pokémon living in a constant state of ennui thanks to its inability to do much of anything. It has three moves, one that does zilch: splash. This move does nothing in the video game series. Nothing.
But when Magikarp is trained enough, he gets to evolve, like many Pokémon do. When Magikarp evolves, he becomes death, the destroyer of Pokéworlds. The floundering fish becomes a giant dragon, and — I’m not even kidding — even the game’s official lore states that when this dude appears, cities are razed in a rampage of water and pure rage. This is what “Pokémon Go” is hopefully building up to. It’s already making millions a day, according to sources, and has seen Nintendo — a company that hasn’t been doing too hot with its home console, the Wii U — rise in stock value. But this app is only getting started. Soon, players will be able to trade Pokémon. And Nintendo, as well as app developer, Niantic, are no doubt going to introduce a steady stream of updates to keep people staring at phones and asking me if I’m catchin’ all the Pokémon when I’m walking around town.
And you know what? For someone who began playing Pokémon when it first came out, this is pretty cool. It’s nerdy and imperfect, but insanely rewarding and fun. So get out there and catch ‘em all.