A lot of people are playing Pokemon Go these days. A lot of people are really falling in love with it. A lot of people are doing really stupid things because of it. While those stupid things are a downer, and cause me to slap my head in frustration, they aren’t the reason I probably won’t play Pokemon Go. No, the reason I probably won’t play Pokemon Go is much deeper, and goes back to why I loved the Pokemon main series games as a child, teen, and yes, even admittedly to this day.
I’ve never been much of a gamer. My Developmental Coordination Disorder tends to impact my enjoyment of video games. The only games I ever really got into were Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: Sith Lords, Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup, and the Pokemon main series games. The reason that I got into those games were easy interfaces that didn’t require quick-twitch reflexes, combined with interesting story.
Here’s what I know about the gameplay of Pokemon Go: No levels for the Pokemon–instead levels for the Trainers, and leveling up and training by use of items only. No Pokemon battles except for Gym battles No battling to catch Pokemon–instead you have to control the Pokeball with your finger No customizable move sets–just pointing at the opponent Pokemon with your finger
The main goal of Pokemon Go seems to be to acquire as many Pokemon as possible. Here’s the thing though: that, to me, was never the draw of the main stream Pokemon games. What I enjoyed was the strategy, and the narrative you could have in your head as you played, because so much was left up to the player to fill in with imagination.
When I played the Pokemon games I usually didn’t come close to competing the Pokedex. I usually focused on a few favorite Pokemon and trained them to high levels. Given that I only ever focused on a few Pokemon, I had to play smart. I usually gave my Pokemon diverse movesets. Pretty much all of the Pokemon that were my “key” Pokemon had at least one move that either offset a weakness of theirs or was strong against a totally different group of Types, and at least one move that if it connected could do a lot of damage. The end result was often around 3 Pokemon that were capable of defeating any team of six in the game. This did, of course, mean I wasn’t the best at battling my friends on the playground, but that was only a concern for a relatively short time in my life. And I didn’t care all that much that it wasn’t the best strategy–I became really attached to those little bytes of data because of the time I had put into them, and the fact that they had become powered enough to defeat so many AI opponents. My favorite way to win a battle was for my Pokemon to only need to strike once, twice at most, and most of the time I was able to fulfill that dream.
So, Pokemon Go with its focus on catching all the Pokemon, and totally ignoring the strategy that Types and customizable movesets bring to the game, holds no real appeal for me. The one cool thing would be finding Pokemon in real world locations–but my imagination is quite capable of doing that on its own, with much more excitement and far less money than a smartphone. So, I’ll probably not end up playing the Pokemon Go game.
That all said, I do wish the best to those who play it and find enjoyment in it. Just remember to enjoy it safely!
Originally posted on Facebook as a note on July 15, 2016