Pokémon Go and where we’re at [THE NEARBY FEATURE IS HERE]

Ready? No surprise here but the day Pokémon Go was released I was at Disney. It was our mid-summer trip, family and friends. The heat at Disney was worst than last year. The sun was draining our energy faster than we could replenish it with food and water. The day the game came out, we went to Epcot. It was exciting. At Epcot, each country had a gym (an area where Pokémon battle) and Poké stops (a land marker that provided free game items) were everywhere. As it is, reception can be spotty at Disney, not to mention, wifi isn’t always great either. Pair this up with the fact the game’s servers were overloaded and often crashed, it wasn’t something we were glued to. A few days later, when we returned to Miami, things were different.

The Pokémon craze had taken off. Everyone was playing the new mobile game, everywhere at all times. It was just a thing. People were going outside, walking around, socializing, and playing the game. Restaurants has reported 20%-60% increases in revenue if they had a Poké stop at their location. All the news could do was talk about Pokémon Go. From the good, like people exercising or adopting dogs to have an excuse to take a walk (and catch Pokémon), to the bad, which included things like vehicle accidents and falling off a cliff in one instance. Then Niantic, the games developer, messed things up.

It’s reported that as fast as they tried to fix things, other things in the game would break. The CEO said in an interview that the amount of people playing the game had far exceeded their expectation. It’s also reported that despite all the hiccups, the game still rakes in a million dollars a day till this day. However, the biggest thing the game broke was the in-game Pokémon nearby tracker. Instead of moving around with purpose to catch a Pikachu or Gyrados in the wild, you were now moving around aimlessly. Third party apps tried to fix this issue but even that stopped working because they were shut down.

Because of this, only core players and fans are still playing the game. My son loves the game. This is my excuse for playing. The gaming time I get with my son is fun. We get to talk about strategies and different ways to play.

I’ve also been using the game to teach him math and reading. I’ve emphasized the importance of both those subjects, always letting him know that once he knows those things, the game will be easier. For example, Pokémon in the game have different types of ratings that you have to read to understand. That’s the reading part. The math comes in when he has to figure our the strength of the Pokémon or how many more “candies” (Pokémon food of sorts) you need to add to evolve that Pokémon. It’s been a fun way for him to learn without calling it learning.

Oh, by the way, the reason I’m still playing is because I want to complete the Pokédex — meaning catch one of every type of Pokémon (at least the USA ones).

The game has undergone a number of updates. The game is safer to play. For people who would play and drive, the game now locks out all features when you’re driving over 30 miles or so, rendering the game pointless to have open. The bummer is that my son can’t play in the back seat of the car. New Pokémon have been introduced to the game which has brought new excitement to the game, aside from the game’s recently themed hosted events. The biggest update of them all has come today: The Nearby Feature.

The days of walking around aimlessly are partially gone. You can now see what Pokémon are around and if you want to find it, tap it and move in it’s direction. And if the Pokémon leaves, you get what I call the “Courtesy Notification”. It just lets you know the Pokémon left.

Pokémon is still a fun game for all ages despite having large majority of people who left the game. The sheer fact that the game requires you to go out, explore, and walk around, is a major departure from most games out today. What do you think? Did you play Pokémon Go? Are you still playing? Now that the nearby feature is back, will you return?

Let me know, tweet me @ippyg

Nearby Feature (screenshots)

Originally published at www.ippyg.com.

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