‘Pokemon Go’ has finally hit the UK after we have heard so much hype from mainly the United States, Australia and New Zealand. Was it worth the wait?
If I called myself a Pokemon fan my brother would disagree strongly and that’s completely fair. I have dabbled in the Nintendo Gameboy, DS and Gamecube games but never got very far or completed any of them. I could understand why it was addicting but it just never really grabbed me all that much. However when a mobile phenomenon like ‘Pomemon Go’ comes out I think anyone would be lying if they said they weren’t at the very least intrigued why a mobile game is so popular. Think about it we have had many popular mobile games, ‘Clash Of Clans’ and ‘Candy Crush’ just to name a couple. I will admit I am not well versed in mobile games as I much prefer playing on console or PC so when a mobile game grabs me it has to be exceptional in one way or another.
Now let’s look at ‘Pokemon Go’ purely as a video-game. The interface and functionality are OK but nothing spectacular and to be honest I have had more than a few crashes just in one day. With a standard opening asking you to name yourself and customise your character using some preset settings there’s not a lot of individuality which is a shame. You choose your starter Pomemon, either Squirtle, Charmander or Bulbusaur and on you go to be a Pokemon master. From there on there are a couple more pop up hints as you approach Pokestops and PokeGyms (yes I came up with that right now and it works) but other than that you are left to fend for yourself and I both enjoy and get frustrated by this.
The first time I saw Pokestops near me I wondered what they were and it was exciting to first approach one and see what would happen. I have no issue with Pokestops and find them user friendly and exciting. I am not level 5 yet so couldn’t comment on how the gyms work but from what I have seen they also look self explanatory except from some combat touch controls that apparently aren’t really explained. What I can tell you with confidence is that when you enter into your Pokedex and items this is where my issue is. You’ll see a list of all the Pokemon you have colected so far and when you tap into one of them terms candy and evolving come up and it is more than a little confusing without some research. Having some experience with the franchise I knew what evolving was but to someone new they would have no clue. Each Pokemon also has their own separate CP (Combat Points) and what you ideally want to do is increase their CP as much as possible before evolving so you evolve into the highest CP possible. None of this is explained and I learned all of this through watching informational ‘Pokemon GO’ videos on YouTube.
I haven’t even talked about the most important feature of ‘Pokemon GO’. In order to collect items from Pokestops and visit PokeGyms you will need to physically travel to these locations. What a fitness program right! There are issues however with this feature too. The GPS is quite buggy and you have no idea where a Pokemon actually is, all they give you is a general idea of distance, no direction and this is quite frustrating. This feature by far though is what is the greatest thing about ‘Pokemon GO’ and the reason I am writing this article.
For you to fully understand why ‘Pokemon GO’ has had such a profoundly positive impact on me and many others I need to take a second to talk about myself (don’t worry I’m not looking forward to it either). I suffer heavily with anxiety and depression as well as many others. I rarely want to leave the house or engage in social events as I am just never mentally inclined to. Long story short huge effort is always needed. So last night I see an outline of a new Pomemon that I wanted to catch and in order to do that I would need to go for a walk outside my house. I know, scary right! I was shocked that at 10:20 pm last night I was walking around and getting some exercise for around 20 minutes. It was a lot easier than if I tried to make myself just go for a walk in general because I had a objective, to catch that Voltorb and Spearow! No other method I have tried has ever been this effective and that ‘Pomemon GO’ has achieved this I think is pretty phenomenal.
I put myself on the line here because mental health is a hugely personal issue to me and one that is growing every day due to stigma and people afraid to talk about it in fear of being told they are attention seeking or negative. I am terrified writing this so I hope this has brought someone peace that they are not alone and others to help fight for the people that are scared to themselves.
Video games often get a bad rap and I am overjoyed to finally see them being noticed for the good they do which is a lot, trust me!
I was inspired to write this after watching this video by Gamespot. It seriously affected me.
I hope you enjoyed this article and learnt something too. Please let us know about your own experience with ‘Pokemon GO’ and whether you agree about video games being good for people and if ‘Pokemon GO’ has helped you.