It has been a whirlwind romance, but the lure of Pokemon GO, much like the lures in the game, disappear quickly and yield virtually nothing. Pokemon GO seemed like a great step up when I began playing, but the truth is the new fresh game I believed it to be was nothing more than global hype and lost nostalgia. Catching your own Pokemon and getting exercise to boot appeared to be an excellent way of getting players fitter and more social, but there’s a catch to Pokemon; the repetition is a killer.

Good and Bad Repetition.

When you consider video gaming, there is, and arguably has to be, a helluva lot of repetition. The trick is, a game needs to employ GOOD repetition; the kind you don’t notice. This is crucial for players and will keep them coming back again and again.  There has to be a fine balance between continually doing the same thing, while seamlessly adding in small flourishes to make it more alluring or challenging. Pokemon GO has not quite found that balance. Consider a football video game – it’s a simple premise, there is only a handful of options (kick, pass ball etc) and it lasts roughly 5 minutes. The repetition of the players on the field, doing the same thing every time, but with slight variations and end result keeps players playing time and time again.

Now consider Pokemon GO – Physically you must go out and walk to find Pokemon, walk to a “gym” to battle others and walk to gain items from Pokestops unless you are so invested you will spend hard cash to, essentially, cheat. Already there is an issue with Pokemon, walking or going anywhere to play a game means you are investing your free time to do so. While this is the same for the football game, the game play is different each time, it ends in 5 minutes and it’s always in your living room. Now imagine playing Pokemon GO every single day for one hour at a time. Obviously, it is excellent in terms of health benefits, but is your “in game” time being well spent if you’re only catching Ratatta’s and Pidgeys?

The Issue with Rarity.

Another reason Pokemon GO has lost its sparkle is because the game makes it desperately difficult to sustain interest, especially after the buzz of the media hype surrounding it. The reason lies with a core theory of gaming; where is the reward? We know Pokemon GO is not a real world commodity and we will win no physical awards or status from it, but the idea of catching anything “new” keeps people playing. At level 17, the rarest Pokemon I’ve caught is Chamander (my original starter Pokemon), and I’ve not seen another one since. I am literally saturated with bats and birds. I’ve evolved them all and transferred over 100 of these Pokemon to make room for “better ones”. At this moment in time, even a Magikarp looks good.

And just how do you get rarer Pokemon? You have to level up. How do you level up? By wading through the monotony of Ratatta’s and Pidgey’s until, slowly, insanity settles in. I LOVE Pokemon, but it is irritating to the point of distraction to get one new Pokemon. Then after catching a new one, another will never show up again, giving you an effectively useless Pokemon which you cannot evolve or power up! Call me old fashioned, but I enjoyed the Gameboy version more.

So, is there life after Pidgey?

Rarity and repetition aside, Pokemon GO has other issues, most notably with the severs and GPS systems. Niantic's CEO John Hanke has acknowledged this, telling Nerdist founder Chris Hardwick at San Diago Comicon  they "weren't provisioned for what happened." He also hinted that improvements are on the way, fixing servers, allowing players to trade Pokemon and adding rarer critters to be found throughout the game

While this seems like an exciting prospect, without significant improvements to the game's overall function and a possible reconsidering of how the game itself can be evolved, it will be considered another flash in the pan app craze that died out as quickly as the good summer weather. #Android #iPhone #Games