This little thread made me nostalgic for the summer of 2016; a simpler, more gently cyberpunk dystopia. So I redownloaded Pokémon Go and yeah: turns out the game is actually fun now!

  • There’s a lot more Pokémon. While I am something of a Johto/Kanto purist, the larger number of distinct things to capture definitely ups the dopamine.
  • You now get little quest-marker-esque hints of nearby Pokémon and where to find them, meaning there’s less aimless wandering in hopes of finding a Machoke.
  • There are daily/recurring quests.
  • Everything is even more gamified. 1
  • Vitally, the game no longer crashes every five minutes.

And, sure, the fad itself is done (no more gaggles of trainers everywhere you look) but as soon as I started playing the game I noticed a lot more folks in Seattle playing it as well.

I love the comparison to stamp collecting because it’s true: I’ve barely touched the ‘game’ (there’s some endgame stuff involving raiding, of which I am completely ignorant.) My Pokémon Go experience the past two weeks have been purely as a collector: I wander around my city and try and catch at least one new rascal a day. This is vaguely rewarding in a Skinner box sense, but it’s certainly not unpleasant.

As of today, I have 146 Pokémon caught. Granted, that’s including four regions (and a corpus of around 800 possible species), so it’s much less impressive: but as far as a mechanism for getting me to close my Move ring and bounce around the city on a random Saturday afternoon, it’s quite a nice little app.

It probably won’t last another month, but it’s fun! It’s good for what it is.

  1. Catch ten ice Pokémon? Congrats, here’s a thing that means nothing! 

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