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July 6, 2017 / Jett

Pokemon Go: One Year Later

Exactly one year ago, Niantic and the Pokemon Company unleashed Pokemon Go onto the Earth. It became a supernova of a game that everyone was talking about and playing. Then, almost as quickly as it arrived, it fizzled out. While the game will never hit the highs of its early days, it still has a large and loyal following, including yours truly.

I had zero interest in this game leading up to its release. My connection to the Pokemon franchise was minimal at best. However, when my wife and sister-in-law got really into it as soon as it came out, I decided to see what the hype was about. Not long after, I was hooked.

The augmented reality nature of the game was something brand new and captivating to me. Go somewhere in the physical world and do something in the digital world, whether it was catching new Pokemon or battling with my squad in gyms. It inspired me to explore the world around me in a whole new way while getting way more exercise than I normally would. Not only did it make sense within the context of the IP, but it was genuinely fun trying to track down all of the monsters, as difficult as some of them can be to trace down.

Despite its initial success, the game has been on a very bumpy ride. From the broken servers at launch, to non-existent in-game trackers, to a gym system that many players ignored for numerous reasons, Pokemon Go could have used a lot more time in the oven. Even then, Niantic had something special with the core Pokemon catching experience.

Since then, the game has gotten much better. Catching them all has become less of a grind, thanks to an in-game tracker, a buddy system that rewards you with candy for walking Pokemon, and Pinap berries that double your candy gain. Servers are now stable. Regular events keep its faithful players on their toes. Most recently, the entire gym system has been overhauled to be less confusing, more casual-friendly and more appealing with the inclusion of raids. With all of these changes, I feel like Pokemon Go is finally coming together as a fully-fleshed out package. Once PvP and trading are in, we’ll finally have the augmented reality Pokemon game we’ve been hoping for.

These days, I’m level 37 out of a possible 40 levels with almost every Pokemon available in my neck of the woods. I’m just one Ampharos short of a complete set. Thanks to the bonuses that come with catching Pokemon and spinning PokeStops every day, Pokemon Go has become a regular part of my day. Another reason I stick with it is because the Pokemon Go Plus device makes it easy to play the game in a more passive manner. Most of the time, I’m interacting with the game in a passive manner, simply hitting the button on the Go Plus to catch Pokemon and spin PokeStops without being glued to the phone. I only really look at the screen when I’m trying to catch something rare or I’m partaking in a battle.

Happy birthday Pokemon Go! It’s been one heck of a year and I’m glad to have been a part of it. Looking forward to proving that I’m the best, like no one ever was.

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