Monday, September 14, 2015

I'm Not Really Excited About 'Pokémon Go'

The trailer for Pokémon Go – a new augmented reality (AR) game for smartphones (both Android and iPhone) which would require players to travel around real-world locations in order to trade, capture, and battle Pokemon – has been around for several days already, and everyone is losing their minds about it.  It’s “old news” but I would still want to offer some thoughts about it.

Regardless of my objective belief that Digimon is better than Pokémon – as far as the anime properties are concerned – it is a fact that, in the past, I experienced how deeply immersive playing Pokemon games is (especially back in my tween/early teens).  So I know Pokémon Go’s potential of becoming a mobile game that everyone will get addicted to – whether via fad or fandom.        

My ultimate gaming experience fantasy isn’t something confide in virtual reality (that’s so 80’s-90’s).   It should have an interface that can interact in the real world.  I don’t have a clear concept of it in my mind, but the closest illustration of such game is that of “Greed Island” in Hunter X Hunter – an RPG existing in a real-world setting.  Thus, I really find the Pokémon Go trailer awesome.  It’s a glimpse of what my fantasy gaming experience could look like.

That said, my personal feelings for Pokémon Go, as of now, is nothing more than intrigue.  I’m not really too excited about it.

Firstly, there are no concrete information yet on how the actual gameplay will look like.   Yes, the trailer looks cool and exciting, but I doubt that the gameplay is going to be anything like it.  If it’s virtually anything like it – holograms of Pokémon, Poké Balls, and others popping out – then it’s definitely going to revolutionize gaming as we know it and, thus, worth going crazy about.  But that’s extremely unlikely, of course.

Secondly, if the gameplay involves having to hold up your camera phone – so that the game animation can meld with the real-world environment – for extended periods of time, won’t that be too tiring for the arm?

Thirdly, consider the fact that Pokémon lives in different habitats, regions, and terrains, and its implications on the game (as well as what the game trailer has implied).  Does it mean I have to travel to an exotic or dangerous location in order to capture a particular rare Pokémon?  Like, will I have to go to the Arctic in order to get a glimpse of Articuno?  Will I have to go to a cemetery or an abandoned mansion in order to encounter a ghost-type Pokémon?  Will I have to go near the mouth of Mayon Volcano in order to get a Magmar?  Will Manila be exclusively filled with Muk and Grimer?

Pokémon Go’s premise is an ambitiously unique one.  However, I’m not keen of having a game that would require me to go to a specific place for the sake of just experiencing an aspect of the game that can only be possible in that place.  Seems like a waste of time and energy.

Furthermore, picture this as well: people, especially kids, getting into danger or trouble – e.g. trespassing, accidents, getting lost, etc. – because of the location requirements of this game.  Yikes!

Lastly, this game probably won’t be free.  If so, then I won’t ever get to play it.  I don’t buy – or use for that matter – apps that aren’t free.  (Can’t afford them… or too lazy to partake in a digital transaction for them.  I still haven’t encountered an app that is worth the money and hassle.)

Pokémon Go could turn out to be the most groundbreaking game in the 21st century.  That would be a pleasant shock, if ever.  But, based on all available (or lack of) data, I tend to think that it’s more probable that the game won’t really live up to the hype created by the trailer.

We have to wait for 2016 to know for real.

For now, I’m more than satisfied of having this emulator app that enables me to play Fire Red and other Pokémon classics on my tab.  

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