Unlike the rest of my year group, I did not graduate last week. I have far more important things to do, like chase my dream of becoming the very best, like no one ever was. I may not have donned a cap and gown, but I have become a real life Pokémon trainer. It may be 11 years too late (that’s Nintendo’s fault not mine), but my childhood dream has finally become reality, albeit virtual. You all know what I’m talking about, and if you’ve had enough of Pokémon Go spamming your news feeds, stop reading now. This is not a blog for you.
For anyone my age, the release of Pokémon Go is more a trip down memory lane than anything. We’re reminded of the good old days when we brought our Pokémon cards to primary school. We never battled of course, no one ever knew how the game actually worked, but we liked showing off our newest shiny, which we inevitably swapped in the heat of a moment for a lesser card and immediately regretted it. No, just me? Oh. We also had the Game Boy games. I had the proper old one, you know the bulky grey one? It was retro even for me at the time, but I loved it. Pokémon Yellow was my preferred game, which may have had an influence of my recent team choice.
While I may be dedicated in my quest to catch all 150 original Pokémon, I can admit that the game isn’t that good… yet. As the augmented reality game has been rolled out to countries all over the world, (although still not in Japan, the birthplace of Pokémon. That just doesn’t seem fair) the demand is growing, and the app just cannot cope. Servers are frequently down, especially this weekend when EVERYONE had time to play it. It’s early days, so I can forgive it for being slow. I’m just hoping that the novelty wears off for the bandwagoners, so that the real fans can actually play the game without it crashing. Other than these slightly infuriating issues, it’s a completely unique game playing experience. I’ve never been so keen to go out for walks in my life.
On a side note I’d like to say kudos to Nintendo for once again fooling the world into doing exercise. First there was the Wii which obligated us to do star jumps and sun salutations in our living rooms, now Pokémon Go has led us to explore parts of our town and villages we didn’t even know existed. Of course, the app’s request that users walk outside has inevitably led to numerous safety warnings to stop people from getting run over by cars. The app’s loading page states very clearly ‘Stay aware of your surroundings’ accompanied by a big red exclamation mark. It’s an important message, and with the amount of time the game takes to load, everyone should be very familiar with this page by now!
So, stay safe and enjoy this rennaisance of 90s gaming. I just hope Niantic and Nintendo have a few good updates up their sleeves to make this innovative gaming experience a smoother one. Oh, and congratulations to the new University of Leicester graduates!