Pokemon Go isn’t Going

The long wait is over. Pokemon Go is here! Knowing that some sort of monetization scheme laid in wait, as this is a free game for the mobile platform, I have been able to avoid getting too hyped for this game. Nonetheless, when July 6th got here and rumors were flying about Pokemon Go’s imminent release, I got excited. Making Pokemon easier to access with less investment in time and money to play will only give me more people to play with, right? Where could Go go wrong?

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So, when you begin Pokemon Go, you are given a choice of Starter Pokemon: Bulbasaur, Charmander, or Squirtle. I choose Charmander and the game promptly freezes. I restart the game but cannot reauthenticate to the servers. I’m not getting an username or password error, but instead it seems like the authentications server just doesn’t answer. And, this went on for days. Apparently, I’m not the only one suffering. Lots of people I’ve spoken have had this same problem. The Chief Technical Officer of Amazon also blogged about having this issue too.

When you fail, fail big.

When you fail, fail big.

Eventually, Pokemon Go let me on to play some. Augmented Reality is pretty rad. Immersion is a key factor in a game, at least according to every single research project I did in Grade School regarding Game Design. It’s true though. Usually this is implemented in games like WoW or Animal Crossing where you are immersed by collecting things and completing simple tasks relentlessly. But integrating into reality and just having Poke-Stops and Gyms littered everywhere you go is evidently super effective immersion to have people cracked-out, dialed entirely out of reality, and into their phones. Some dude in New Zealand even quit his job to play 24/7. There are better games to dedicate your life to, if that is something you’re inclined to do.

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My hope with this game was that the investment to get started would be minimized, which it has. It doesn’t require the purchase of a 3DS. Phones aren’t cheap but most people have one that will run this game. Also, the time investment was eliminated. Don’t need to spend 40 hours battling gyms and elite four to get to be at a point where battling is optimized. However, now that we’re past that initial investment, where is the game? The core game elements that Pokemon has been built on for the last 20 years are largely missing. There is no trading, no customization of your pokemon, and no player-vs-player battling. Not sure there is enough gameplay for me here. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind a little grind. (Probably from having played so many Dragon Warrior games.) But the collection grind is all this game really has.

Did anyone else expect more out of Pokemon Go?

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