Our First Impressions of Pokemon Go!

Just like everyone else, we’ve gone Pokemon Go crazy! Check out our first impressions, our team loyalties, and why some of us might have already deleted the app…

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Cody (Team Valor)

Like wildfire consuming the Blackwater, Pokemon GO has consumed the country. Dropping last week, it has entirely redirected every effort in every social group I have. Thursday night, the first full night I had the game installed, saw me and a friend leaving on our own Pokemon journey, oh how Oak woulda been so proud.

We take literally not 5 steps from my door when we run into a lady of similar age and ask, “You playing too?” Yeah she replies. “What team are you?” “Noneya!” and she bolts. The very first stranger we meet playing Pokemon GO stiff-arms us into oblivion. We both open our apps, catch the Rattatas and Pidgeys swarming the corner and agree, we sure hope not everyone is like this.

Trekking through the neighborhood we catch the various lowbie beginners Tempe AZ has to offer. We run into two more young ladies crossing a parking lot and they simply ask “You guys on it too?” “Sure are.” “Cool… There’s a Ponyta around here!” Perfectly smashing our previous experience.

The rest of the night is spent bumping into other trainers at 10 PM, discussing teams, and finally ending with our first Gym Battle! Taking over the nearby church in our neighborhood. After a tense battle draining our top ‘mons, we take it over and declare ourselves the new leaders! Placing two pals to guard it and head out victorious! Not one hour later, I’m back at the bar. The church is already taken back over by some Instinct scum. Then I get the text alert “THIS IS VERIZON WIRELESS. YOU’VE USED 90% OF YOUR DATA.” Damn you Pokemon. Damn you.

Sam (Team Valor)

I love Pokemon GO. I really do. I spent a good ten hours outside on the streets of my city wandering aimlessly with my face in my phone the first week and I loved every second of it. I met more people and saw more of the city in those two days than I have in the last two-and-a-half years that I’ve lived here. Pokemon has always been one of my all time favorite games. Even when I got tired of gaming and didn’t bother keeping up with the latest consoles you can bet without fail that I always at least had the latest Nintendo handheld.

I stand firmly with the other twenty-something year olds who have been transfixed by this game. It’s remarkable to see how something as simple as Pokemon has brought people together. Because you have to be in close proximity to PokeStops and Gyms to interact with them you are gauranteed to run into people everywhere you go while playing. Not once have I ever been at a PokeStop or Gym alone. And that’s amazing. Gamers are so often a solitary group but Pokemon GO has changed that immensely.

Nintendo has really knocked it out of the park with this early foray into mobile gaming. It’s the perfect combination of nostalgia and VR. Granted, the gameplay mechanics have some flaws. I have my own list of suggestions for fixing the game and making it better and a bit more true to the feel of the originals. But for a game that’s only a week old I think it’s doing just fine. I can’t wait to see how it grows and for the fans to grow with it.

In conclusion: Pokemon GO is great and VICTORY FOR VALOR!

Steve (Team Mystic)

I guess I’m the odd one out here, because I got bored of Pokemon Go and stopped playing it after about two days. The game’s addictive charm and sudden explosion of popularity rides on a wave of millennial nostalgia mixed with peer pressure, but the game fundamentally suffers from a lack of both content and incentives.

The primary mechanic, called “walking,” is admittedly solid, but past that, none of the actual gameplay provides all that much fun – catching Pokemon seems to operate more on random chance than anything you can do as a player, and the battling essentially amounts to tapping the screen as fast as you possibly can.

So what motivation do we have to keep playing? Why should we bother spending the exhausting amount of time, energy, and cellular data trying to gather all 151 Pokemon other than to slavishly follow the “Gotta Catch ‘Em All” marketing slogan that Nintendo shoved down our throats for our entire childhood? Why should we care about gyms when battling isn’t actually any fun and everything will be dominated by 2000+ CP addicted maniacs within a few weeks?

If the game had real content, it would be a legitimately engaging new approach for the franchise; if it had enticing incentives, it would be a fun distraction to potentially make part of your daily routine. Without either, there just isn’t anything to do in Pokemon Go. But hey, it doesn’t seem like that’s stopped anyone else from playing. Thanks for ruining my news feed, Niantic.

Katie (Team Mystic)

Pokemon Go dropped in the United States while I was in New York City, and let me tell you, there’s no better place to hunt for Pokemon than in the middle of the biggest city in the country. My first few days on it were spent trying to figure out Pokestops and catch Pokemon, without any real idea of what I was doing. I can see where Steve above lost steam, because the game did not come with instructions initially and the game play is actually a bit tedious to master.

However, with a bit of help from friends and the online world, I began to discover how to really play the game instead of merely wandering around throwing pokeball at Pokemon. Since going home from New York City, I have spent the last three nights out at parks and in crowded parking lots, grinding to level up. There is an art, much like in the gameboy games, to leveling up not only my player but my Pokemon in order to really begin to engage in game play. Lucky eggs have been a life saver, as have the hundreds of people dropping lure modules at my local parks.

The best part is the sense of community that has been born, and the increased foot traffic in my sleepy little town. A city that is usually shuttered and asleep by ten most nights has been alive well past midnight since the drop of Pokemon Go. Packs of friends and strangers alike have taken to the street, and as they find rarer catches they shout so everyone knows where to go. Watching people help each other figure out the game and get excited over catching anything from an Onyx to a Dratini has been a light in the midst of sad and frustrating times.