My First Experience With Pokemon GO
I've been dying to give Pokemon Go a try ever since I saw the trailers for it months ago. The idea of going out and embarking on your very own journey to catch Pokemon is a late 90's dream come true. Of course, I live in Canada, so it took a while for the game to make its way to me. I could have taken a shortcut like I've heard others do but I was willing to wait until it's official release in Canada. It was worth the wait. I want to share my first experience with this gem of a game.
I don't want to start off on a negative note but the character creation is just pitiful. Take any other character creation system you've ever seen. Now, take that and compare it to Pokemon Go. There's you get to choose your eye and hair colour along with three variants of the same types of clothes . You would think that a game as huge as Pokemon Go would have a character creation system with a little more substance to it. In a game like this, I know I'd want to create a character that stands out from the others and you can't really do that here. Another problem I encountered early on is the internet connection the game needs in order to function properly. Unless you have an unlimited data plan for your phone or live in an area with decent public wi-fi, you've going to have some difficulties with this game. Of course, I had neither.
I headed out in the evening with my girlfriend Pauline. She had already tested out Pokemon Go so she had a much better idea of what to do than I did. For a starter, I chose Bulbasaur, my favourite of the original starter lineup. Pauline, on the other hand, used the Pikachu trick to get the electric rodent as her starter. We live in downtown Fredericton, so there was no shortage of Poke-stops. I met my first wild Pokemon as we got close to a coffee shop. It was a Venonat. I still can't believe how excited I was to catch it. Even back in the 90's when Blue and Red came out, I wasn't too fond of Venonat. Now, 20-odd years later, and I'm squeeing over this like it was the first Pokemon I ever caught. Ever.
We weren't alone out there in the streets, not by a long shot. People were EVERYWHERE in the streets. They all had their faces in their phones and they were all playing Pokemon GO. More Pokemon popped up as the journey went on. My Girlfriend kept saying that there were Pidgeottos and Pikachus and Raticates close by. Want to no what my game was telling me was nearby? Weedle, just Weedle. Weedles down the street, Weedles across the street. Weedles in the church, down the ally, in the mall, and in the bathroom. Weedles, Weedles EVERYWHERE. Eventually, my phone's battery died and I was cursed to the second-hand enjoyment of watching my girlfriend catch all the good Pokemon.
Like I said earlier, the downtown area was full of poke-stops and lures. It didn't take long to figure out what to do with them. I think it's a good touch to have an easy way to stock up on Pokeballs. I was half expecting the game to try and force you to buy more Pokeballs by way of some contrived micro-transaction. Luckily, my suspicion was proven false.
Our first Pokemon GO adventure came to a climax near the college of arts, next to the library. I was watching my girlfriend spend Pokeball after Pokeball trying to catch a Zubat that always seemed to swerve out of the Pokeball's path at just the right moment. We came upon a large group of people that were playing Pokemon GO. There were people who would never be outside their homes otherwise. While we were there, I overheard someone talking about someone they met while playing Pokemon GO who had social anxiety. Seeing all these people gathered around talking about Snorlax and Lapras and Dragonite took me back to the school playground in elementary school. I remember seeing my classmates swapping Pokemon cards, linking up their Gameboys to battle and trade, and sharing rumours about how to catch Pikablu and find Mew under the truck next to the St. Anne.
I've only been playing Pokemon Go for less than a day. But just from what I've seen, Pokemon go has elevated the Pokemon hype above and beyond the glory days of the late 90's and early 2000's in just one week. I can't even imagine what it's going to be like in a month. Anyway, I had a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to seeing what comes of this.