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My Favorite Pokemon Go Memory August 1, 2017

Posted by Maniac in Editorials.
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After the details emerged about what happened at the Pokémon Go Fest in Chicago last month, I thought the time was finally right to talk about my favorite Pokémon Go memory.  Pokémon Go officially released on SmartPhones and Tablets a year ago, and there have been plenty of ups and downs over the course of that year.  As news about its release spread like wildfire, the app saw an unbelievable amount of users in its first week.  Pokémon Go developer Niantic was unprepared for the game’s sheer number of simultaneous players for at least a month after the app was released, and because of that the app was unable to support all the people who just wanted to use it during the day.

I had started playing Pokémon Go the second it was released in my region and because of that I had a tiny leg up over the newer users.  By the end of the app’s first week I had already gotten my starter, visited some PokéStops, and caught a handful of Pokémon in the wild.  Due to the program’s instability during this period, that was about all that early players could hope to accomplish.  However, while the program was completely broken during the daytime, it would actually work at night, precisely when the app tells its users NOT to use it.

Playing Pokémon Go at night wasn’t a big deal to me since I’ve been a night owl for as long as I can remember.  In fact, my late night gaming sessions have lead to some of my favorite gaming memories, and I’m going to tell you one of those stories right now.  One night during the first month of Pokémon Go‘s operation, I was hanging out with my friend who I still need to refer to as the Unknown Cameraperson. I had been running low on in-game supplies and I needed some extra PokéBalls for the game. It was late and we weren’t far from the center of town, so I figured there had to be some PokéStops in the area I could use to fill up on supplies.

We pulled into a public parking space and I turned on the Pokémon Go app.  We were in luck, I discovered there were at least five PokéStops and a Gym in the town green. Then as my friend and I entered the public space I noticed the park was completely full of people playing Pokémon Go.  My town green would normally be empty most days of the year, and here we were.  It was past midnight in the park, and that didn’t seem to matter to all the young people playing Pokémon Go.  My guess is that was probably the first time that park was full since my town was founded!

As I walked through the diverse crowd of people I smiled, my whole life I had to go online to find peers who shared my interests.  Now, as an adult, I discovered people from my town were interested in gaming and the proof was all around me. 

As I looked around at the PokéStops surrounding the park, every one of them had been connected to a lure module, increasing the probability of random Pokémon encounters for anyone near them. In essence, not only were the park’s patrons there to play, they were working together to make the game better for each other!  To me, that gesture speaks volumes about the merits of gaming as a social activity.  At its core, Pokémon games have always been a social experience, and twenty years later that experience still endures.

The Unknown Cameraperson and I completed a lap around the park and visited all the PokéStops within a safe walking distance.  Eventually, Niantic improved the connection issues with the app, and I’ve been able to play the game during the day for quite a while.  However, I’ll never forget the sight of so many people working together on my town green…all for the love of Pokémon.

Pokémon Go is out now for Android and iOS smartphones and tablets.