This review is going to be a little different than most, but if you want to be the very best like no one ever was, you got to step outside the norm.
This is the phenomenon of Pokémon Go!
I remember learning that this app was coming out back in early 2016. As a long time fan of the Pokémon franchise, I was hyped. As a fan of technological advances, I was even more hyped. Seeing such a blend of Augmented Reality, gaming, and community was exciting. It was something right out of a sci-fi novel!
Of course, when the game finally came out, it had been hyped to the point that the tiny team at Niantic could never meet the entire demand upon release. Was I disappointed?
A little, but I still enjoy the game from time to time. Sometimes I leave the game alone for several weeks, sometimes I pull it up several times a day. In a way it has become simply another part of my life, but I think that’s kind of amazing.
Pokémon Go doesn’t really have a story, a plot, or even a main antagonist really. It’s a game about experiencing the world on another level, a level where the digital and “real” collide to create a new layer to our perception of reality. You wander the world and discover unseen creatures hidden in the world, all from a tiny box in your hand. That sounds like magic! Yet its so relaxed and normal now.
Yet despite this rather relaxed form of gameplay, anyone who has played the game can tell you stories connected to their favorite pokemon or that time they had a cool interaction with fellow or rival teams. I still share stories of catching rare pokemon with my friends or evolving them into cool new forms, all told as if I’d done it and not some algorithm on the server. I still ask people what team they’re on when I find that they play and give appropriate responses like “Yeah, that really fits you!” or “Nice! We’re on the same team!” I remember when I took down a huge, level 7 gym only using the first three pokemon in my party and then planted one of my own pokemon at the gym like a flag on newly conquered land!
And all this is now just part of our daily lives. This collective storytelling and adventuring is just another thing we do in the grocery store or when jogging. We do it without even think about it. To people who don’t even know what a computer is, we’d look like wizards accessing some mystical realm of existence with our magic glowing tablets!
Perhaps Pokémon Go isn’t the greatest game ever made. Perhaps it failed on a lot of the promises of it’s advertising campaign. However, it has given us all a whole new layer to our lives and a format from which future game developers can learn and add a whole new, possibly better, layer alongside it.
With Pokémon Go, our lives are just a bit more adventurous. So next time you nonchalantly talk about the game, remember that to some it would look like a miracle.
And as always, remember to Keep it Reel and Catch ’em All!
One thought on “DNN Pokémon Go Review”
Solid review (though for a reader who has actually never heard of the game, a link or two at the top would be useful). There are one or two comments here – about other layers of reality and the role of computers/algorithms in maintaining the illusion of them – that make this a satisfactory review. Count it. But for future reviews, be sure you not only mention why this works as a digital networked narrative, but develop those ideas with some degree of depth.