An Open Letter to John Hanke & Niantic
Yang Liu
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Coin. (my thoughts on the Pokemon Go update)

After reading this story about the current state of Pokemon Go by Yang Liu (One of the creators of Pokevision), I had to write something. Probably I have a similar story growing up regards to Pokemon. I was living in Ibaraki (I just say it’s near Tokyo because it’s easier-Sorry my Japanese fellows!) when Red/Green came out. I didn’t really get into it until Gold/Silver came out, but this is simply because of my age. I was already watching the anime at that point, so it was really nice to go back to it’s roots and able to understand (to a certain extent) and play them.

Let’s talk about Pokemon Go. I live in the UK so I was able to play earlier than most of my friends living in Japan. I talked about what’s fun and what’s not, what is working, how it could be improved etc. The servers were a little wonky, but I saw tons of people playing it around me, so I accepted that. It’s a new game by Niantic, and I knew from their previous title Ingress, that the team weren’t massive. Plus, it was Pokemon we’re talking about. Although, the reaction that the reveal trailer got from general audiences were quite small, so I don’t think anyone could’ve imagined it would blow up and become this big — Even if you were very excited when this game was announced last September.

Pokevision helped trainers to locate where the Pokemons were, while the footsteps system was broken. Yang Liu states himself in the Story that

Pokevision does give some advantages that may be TOO much

Which I agree. When the tracker was working, it indicated the general direction you should go and the distance by increasing/decreasing the amount of footsteps it showed. So it was more like a treasure hunt. You know roughly what you’re going to get and where, but it doesn’t pinpoint the exact location. But this broke, so me and my friends and quite a lot of trainers used Pokevison. It might’ve not been in a regular bases, but they still used them. Because without it, we had no clues where to go.

But there’s the other side of the argument. Pokevision to a certain extent, did take away the fun from Pokemon Go. Yes, you could get what you want. Yes, you didn’t have to walk around having just little or even sometimes no clues. Though, was that the point? In any game, you want to be good. Even if you’re only playing casually, I’m sure that you’ll agree, being better is probably more fun. For this game, I think the main drive was the Pokedex. I certainly want to ‘catch ’em all’ and be a better trainer. So I can understand why people liked Pokevision. I’m not going to pretend I never used them, because I did. But for me it created a weird feeling, almost like catching Pokemon was my job. Whenever someone caught a rare Pokemon using the service, there were parts of me feeling that they didn’t really try hard hunting it down. There were also parts of me feeling a little jealous because I was using the same service yet I was unable to catch it. If it was just the tracker, I would’ve just thought I was unlucky, but because Pokevision is more accurate, it did make me envy in an unhealthy way.

Just like there’s two sides to a coin, there’s two sides for this argument. I understand both. I used Pokevision because the in-game system was broken, but whenever a rare Pokemon was caught by using this tool, I thought the fun and magic of what made this game special is gone. If you’re conflicted, that’s fine. This is the internet, so you should expect people to start shouting if you don’t side to one team, but your opinion is your opinion. If you couldn’t care less about Pokemon Go and want everyone to shut up about it, that’s fine as well (If it’s you then thanks for reading till the end). All we want is to have fun, and I hope Niantic realizes that.

Thanks.

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