You won’t believe what Pokemon Go is doing now! Pokemon Go Will Never Be The Same! Why You Should Delete Pokemon Go! … Seriously, how many awful “click bait” articles have you seen like these? Not to mention all the fake “update” articles, but that’s another topic entirely.
It’s been almost two months since the initial release of Pokemon Go and the Poke-love is still going strong; but sadly, so too are poorly written articles that either (a) don’t understand this phenomenon or (b) refuse to. Is the game for everyone? Of course not! Is the game perfect? No, but what game is? Are players going to leave after the initial release? Again, which game doesn’t experience that?
There is a minority that tries to vilify this game; but it’s a vocal minority. So consider this the vocal rebuttal to the Top 5 Negative Claims Pokemon Go players are tired of hearing. Maybe this article will change how you view this game or maybe it won’t. At the very least, I want this article to be a break from all the derogatory “click bait” and instead provide readers with a well-crafted article detailing why this game has had such a positive impact on so many players.
Fallacy #1 – “Pokemon Go Is Pure Nostalgia for Millennials. Nothing More”:
Let’s put aside my detest for the word “Millennials” for a second. As I will explore in the coming sections, there are loads of benefits to playing Pokemon Go – mental health, physical health, etc – but nostalgia does play a large role in the game. There’s no denying that. But this valid reason starts to become ‘fallacy’ when people incorrectly tie it in to the derogatory connotation of so-called “Millennials”.
Some will say this is purely an escape from work and another thing to make them lose focus. The reality of the matter is that Pokemon Go does represent a sort of escape, but not to be “kids with no responsibility” again; but rather to “live in a unified world again”. Back when we were kids, it didn’t matter what Race, Gender, Social Class, Religion, Sexuality, etc you were. If you played Pokemon, you were immediately “one of us” – someone we could trade, share secrets and have friendly competitions with. We knew we were all in this together, and that is a feeling many people – not just Millennials – haven’t felt in a terribly long time. And it’s not just millenials as this game has even given some parents a new way to interact with their kids and get them out of the house for an adventure.
Can Pokemon Go change the world and erase all differences in the world? No, that is on all of us. But this is a game that has given total strangers a reason to talk and share info and tips. There have been plenty of times I’ve been out and met other trainers – from acknowledging head nods to half hour conversations. It doesn’t even matter if you’re on different teams because the sense of community is always there.
This isn’t the first game with an incredibly helpful community – Destiny is another such example – but Pokemon Go is the first to do this while getting people off the couch and teaming up with others in real life. It might not be world peace, but when a simple mobile game can do more for peace and togetherness than so-called “grown up methods”, it’s hard to tell if that speaks more positively of the game or more negatively of everything else.
Fallacy #2 – “Pokemon Go Is Bad Because Not Skill-Based – Mind Numbing”:
Walk around. Fling Pokeballs. Walk some more. Sounds simple right? Let’s face it, Pokemon was never the most complex of games on a surface level like Tomb Raider or others with massive puzzles. Then again, as the games evolved there were plenty of enhancements to give you that test – IVs, Breeding, etc. The same is true for Pokemon Go as the casual player will simply walk, throw a Pokeball and that’s it. But if you actually want to be the very best – or just catch them all – you have to have extensive real world knowledge. Plan your routes, know where to walk, maximize your capture chance and pick which gyms are more obtainable – as well as WHEN to gamble and claim your rewards. Pokemon Go is in fact a very strategic game, but the strategic part comes not from the game itself, but rather the real world.
Take the story of Jimmy Derocher for example who tried to earn 1 Million Exp in one day. As you level up the Exp needed to progress increases steeply after level 23 or so. 1 Million Exp might seem excessive but it’s almost impossible sometimes as the most Exp you can get from one act is about 3,000 – hatching an unregistered Pokemon from a 10km egg with Lucky Egg active. Jimmy conducted extensive research and planned everything from location (a loop in Austin, Texas) to when it was better to ignore Pokemon or go after one. His method was so successful that it even tricked the Niantic servers into thinking he was cheating because he was THAT efficient.
If you put that amount of thought into Pokemon Go, you will be rewarded. And if this still isn’t enough to convince you, remember that it’s a MOBILE game – the vast overwhelming majority of which are to kill time. And again, if you wanted to you could argue any game is mind numbing – if it’s not your thing. Someone could play a Final Fantasy game and think it mind numbing if they don’t care about the story. Whether it’s a movie, video game or book, you can think anything was mind numbing if you don’t open your mind to it.
Fallacy #3 – Claims About Pokemon Go’s Glitches & Privacy:
This is an easy one to answer: What game hasn’t? Every game has a glitch or two. Even massive scale games like Assassins Creed has had its set of glitches. The trick is do they address them, and Pokemon Go has – and still is. But you have to remember where these glitches arise. The early day glitches arose because the games popularity was so overwhelming that it completely crushed the servers. This is a game played in real time in millions of instances ALL OVER THE WORLD! Just try to imagine that scale and the pressure that’s one their servers. This is why the original tracking was turned off because having a system tell millions of players where a Pokemon is in relation to them at any moment is a monumental task. And don’t forget all the bots that flood the system adding even more stress, which Niantic has already began to deal with.
The other glitch that people spoke a lot about at the time was how the requested access to your Google Account allowed Niantic access to everything. Yes, this was a massive problem and Niantic addressed it and fixed it within the first week or so.
Fallacy #4 – “Pokemon Go Is Making People Act Stupid” (ie: Walk Into Traffic, Get Mugged, etc):
Once again, easy answer: COMMON SENSE PEOPLE! If you should text and drive, or text and walk, etc you absolutely shouldn’t Pokemon Go and drive/cross the street. Be alert of your surroundings. Don’t trespass. Be alert. These are the basic rules of… life! Pokemon Go does not supersede them and the fact that it’s gotten so bad that the app has to remind you every time you open it up is quite laughable. As for the few mugging incidents, again be alert of your surroundings but this falls more on the perpetrators. It’s sad that some people will turn even the purest if things into a scheme and take advantage of it; but that’s sadly the world we live in. Pokemon Go hasn’t changed that.
Fallacy #5 – “Pokemon Go Contributes Nothing To Your Life”
Now this is the biggest argument I’ve heard and also the most firmly held by opponents. Even when someone points out that it helps people exercise, the opponent will just claim “that’s bullshit” or talk about how they just go to the gym like a “normal person”. But that’s just it. Everyone is different and if you can go to the gym every day and have that dedication, that’s incredible; but you have to realize that everyone isn’t like you and there’s a multitude of things standing in people’s way – sometimes their own motivation levels.
Whether you choose to accept it or not, there’s already been research on Pokemon Go and it’s effects on mental and physical health; and the research is really clear on this. Dr John Grohol has studied technology’s impact on people for the past 20 years and the correlation between people’s improved health and playing Pokemon Go is real.
“The challenge has always been, if you’re depressed, your motivation level is nonexistent… You want to go out and get some fresh air, or even take a shower, and it can be a very difficult thing to even comprehend, much less do. I think the impact of something like this, this game, can really be beneficial. [And] the more you exercise, the more it would help decrease feelings of depression.” – Dr John Grohol
By helping give people an extra incentive, this game serves as a sort of anti-depressant. If the person can’t – or won’t – access actual treatment or medication, this game can give them the mental boost in life they need. This game isn’t prenting to be a treatment or a “cure”, it’s simply a “game that happens to cultivate healthy behaviors”.
Now of course it’s not an end all cure for depression and anxiety; but it’s a step in the right direction and positive self-care. “It isn’t perfect, but there’s no perfect solution for… any other mental illness. Players who have benefited from playing Pokemon Go can use this opportunity to take their treatment to the next level”
So there you have it. Again, this isn’t to convince you to play Pokemon Go; but rather to show you that people have a reason for playing and they actually get solid enjoyment and fulfillment out of this game. There has literally never been a game like this before that is able to encapsulate a childhood dream so perfectly. This game is going to be around for a while and will only get more and more advanced. Sure play style for me myself might start to disappear after Gen 2 is released; but for this initial inception of the game just let people enjoy themselves and remember that this is absolutely helping people – socially, mentally and physically.