Your inner child was surely pounding their fists in distress at the late release of Pokémon Go in Britain, so if you resisted the urge to just set up a fake Australian account and play early, your temper tantrum was finally quenched on 14th July. Game statistics have already come in from round the world showing the popularity of this app – in the USA, Pokémon Go is bigger than Tinder with 5.16% of Android phones having downloaded it compared to the 2% with Tinder. So yeah, people would rather catch fake animated creatures than catch feelings for another real life human being – this is my kind of world.
Becoming such a huge part of everyone’s life and newsfeed, there’s really no escaping these lovable blips of computer code. Animated fun combined with the HD of real life – side effects may include getting confused and flinging your mobile at an idle pigeon or squirrel. Recognising a fellow Pokémon Go player by their tendency to walk into traffic while meticulously staring down an Eevee has created a fun jolt of solidarity among strangers. Allures act as the new age watering hole with people gathered around and actually communicating with one another by sharing conquests or tips. It seems this is one game the “professionals” can’t scold our anti-social behaviour on.
In true fad fashion, Pokémon Go is both uniting and tearing apart the nerds of the world. Three Pokémon Teams are available to join once you reach level 5, and much like Hogwarts houses, the teams are defined by certain traits. Team Valor is for the fiery warrior (Gryffindor), Team Mystic for the intellectually driven analyser (Ravenclaw), and Team Instinct who seem to be the happy-go-lucky underdogs (Hufflepuff). Choosing your team can be a tricky subject, mainly for the elitist judgement you will receive based on your choice (ahem – Team Mystic, looking at you). The main point of these teams, apart from causing debates and yet more internet memes, is the opportunity to fight for your own turf in your local gyms and perhaps even hold a gym in honour of your team for all of 5 minutes before some smug Snorlax stumbles along.
For the nostalgia driven generation who spend most their time looking at “Only 90’s kids will remember” memes to distract from their own cripplingly bleak future, this app is perfect! Instead of staring at your job-offer-free inbox, you can go hunt down an Aerodactyl. Since the release of Pokémon Go, numerous articles have been published documenting the brilliant effect of getting people out their houses. For people who live with severe depression or anxiety and find this feat intensely difficult, any app that inspires this behaviour is surely a huge positive step. Scientific studies have investigated the positive effects of gaming when treating depression or anxiety, the prominent tactics being distraction and a sense of accomplishment. Pokémon Go offers both of these as well as adding the extra perk of exercise, an aid to treatment most psychiatrists support.
It’s easy to understand how Pokémon Go has become one of the most popular apps in the world, not only benefiting the players but also portable charger distributers due to the sadly horrendous drain in battery life. Even though there’s as of yet no function to allow manual battling of your Pokémon against your friends like in the original games, the elation of seeing a rare Pokémon nearby has yet to extinguish. Despite the irritating abundance of Rattata’s and Pidgey’s when walking down a city street, this is still vastly preferable to the disappointingly empty fields of the countryside. The app is clearly aimed more at city dwellers, however I still haven’t given up hope they put a Gyarados in Loch Ness.
For anyone who’s sick to death of their friends squealing and coming to a halt every 10 seconds while walking down the street, or for continuingly tweeting their newest capture – apologies, but it looks like this app isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Just carry on absently nodding along to their discussions of these strangely named hype machines, and whatever you do, don’t dare utter that Digimon was better anyway. Seriously, just don’t go there.
[Michaela Barton –@lowkeypigeon]
A collection of Pokemon Go screenshots from our contributors (click for slideshow)