Pokémon Go provides a way to build relationships

By Kyle Parker
Staff Writer

Echo illustrations by Seth Boyum

Pokémon has boasted soon-to-be 25 games in its core series alone. From battles, to pictures to dungeon crawling for treasure, there is little that this 20-year-old game franchise has not done except play on a non-Nintendo platform.

Then, on July 6, Nintendo broke this taboo and exclusivity with the phenomenon that is known as Pokémon Go. News outlets question it, parents mispronounce it and a lot of people that did not know this game was a thing are suddenly very aware of just how big a thing this game is.

For the uninitiated, Pokémon Go is a form of ARG (augmented reality game). It takes place in the real world though the lens of your own phone. Here you are tasked to collect creatures known as Pokémon, all 150 of them. To capture these Pocket Monsters, the player needs to flick their Pokeball at them. Some creatures will fight it, others will knock the ball away and all will run given the chance.

Once these creatures are collected, they can be used for battle. This takes place at “gyms” placed around the real world via GPS locations. While it is not a real landmark, the location is kept on a server and treated as a hub location. A pin in the map that all players can locate and interact with. Once the gym is located, a battle can start. Clicking, dodging and using special attacks until a victor emerges.

These mechanics are very simple. Even more so than Pokémon Red and Blue, the first games in the series. Why has it struck so thoroughly, though? Perhaps it is the nostalgia of its fan base. The players that have been playing this have battled, bred and build relationships through the franchise and many iterations. To have a game on such an (ambiguous/common object) it is now simpler than ever to play.

Those that are shy or lack social finesse now have an easy outlet and common ground when playing the game. People out catching Pokémon in the same area meet each other, interact with each other and get to know one another.

While it is legitimate that people worry what could and has happened with the game, muggers using GPS spoofing to create not real locations to lure in victims, the overzealous going much to far for the sake of a rare Pokémon, it has also brought together communities, old friends and new ones, into the fold.

RCTC will also have such an event. This homecoming there will be a gathering of fellow Pokémon GO players on Wednesday, Oct. 5. So, load up on your Pokeballs, and come meet a community eager to meet you.

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