You’d have to be living under a Geodude (see what I did there) to not of heard about Pokemon Go, Nintendo’s latest delve into the world of mobile gaming, alongside developers Niantic Inc.
I just ventured outside to take out the rubbish, decided to walk around the block and spotted many people, suspiciously holding out their phones, in hopes of gaining items from a nearby ‘poke stop’. Even despite the fact the official UK release of Pokemon Go hasn’t actually occurred yet, that hasn’t stopped a myriad of players getting hooked, so much so that you can spot them in the wild, just like the Pokemon themselves, but in actual reality instead of in an augmented one.
While waiting in my flat before a shift at work, I watched as an nearby gym changed from being claimed by Team Mystic (Blue) to Team Instinct (Yellow) and then back to Team Mystic again. As someone who never let go of the Pokemon fad since it took over your school back in the late 90s, it makes me giddy to see so many people pick up the app and to directly see its popularity.
I don’t believe Niantic expected the app to become this popular upon releasing it in certain countries to begin with (US, New Zealand, Japan) and game websites have been directing people to apk downloads, where despite the game not being available to them to download officialy, they are able to still have it on their phone, adding an extra strain on the servers.
Niantic, has stated on their website, say that, “due to the incredible number of Pokémon GO downloads, some Trainers are experiencing server connectivity issues. Don’t worry, our team is on it!”
I think most gamers now expect these sort of issues with game releases that primarily or exclusively work via the internet, so for me personally, it was expected. Never the less, other than the issues the servers have been presenting, these are some of my hopes for the future of Pokemon Go.
5. Add the next region of Pokemon with each future update to the app.
I think this is a given to happen, and I’m actually really glad they stuck with the Kanto region Pokemon to begin with, aka the ones you’ll be familiar with if you stopped being obsessed with Pokemon in 2000.
I’m not entirely sure how the app works with picking its landmarks to be poke stops and gyms, but as there exists shops that sell video games, and give away free codes to Pokemon players so they can get legendary Pokemon in their games, surely it would be beneficial to make sure all gaming shops were in fact gyms?
Although I do most of my shopping online, I love that physical game shops do still exist, and the Pokemon merchandise, as well as their general titles on the 3DS and WiiU, etc, at GAME has got better and better. It would be a nice show of support for the gaming industry as a whole, and would fill up gaming shops again just like back in the 90s, when everyone scrambled to buy Pokemon key chains, cards, rubbers, pencil cases, battery packs for your Game Boys, fanny packs that carried your Game Boys and god knows what else.
3. Setting up Bases
On Google Maps, you have the option to set an address as your home, work and so on. It would be helpful if, with this information being only available to you, that you could set your home address as your base within Pokemon Go, where Pokemon were healed and where you could perform extra features such as breeding and more.
One of my favourite features from the Pokemon games was editing my room on Pokemon Stadium 2 (2000) via my copy of Pokemon Crystal or playing about in fan bases in Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire.
My trainer seems a bit lonely, just standing on the app at night, with nowhere to go till the morning. Even an icon of your trainer actually training your Pokemon would be a cute addition.
2. Change the artwork to be based upon the character design from the actual Pokemon games.
I recently got back into the Pokemon Trading Card Game, which I haven’t been a fan of since Pokemon cards were banned at my primary school, and there is an app which you can download to virtually collect cards and battle people online. Great.
But for some reason, it doesn’t use artwork from the Pokemon games for the people used within the app, which, despite it being official, makes it very un-Pokemon-y (that is totally a word, shush.)
I’m not sure if this is due to any licensing or costs issues, but that game is distributed and published by Nintendo, and with the new trailers and images we are getting of Pokemon Sun and Moon, we know they are sticking to the character design we’ve grown to love. Even past games like Pokemon Snap (1999) and Pokemon Stadium (1998) kept to the same design for in-game character sprites and for artwork in the accompanying manuals and booklets.
Pokemon Go follows Trading Card Game Online sadly and uses a new type of character design, where the characters, though still have an ‘anime’ appeal, look more realistic than the designs of trainers we’re used to. Professor Willow looks like he’s straight out of Back to the Future and if I saw an image of him before the games release, I would never think it was artwork for a Pokemon title, other than noticing the fact he is holding a poke ball.
I’ve used fan based flash games to create myself as a Pokemon Trainer before, but I would love an official way to do so, and the hopes of Pokemon Go before its release, gave me that. I hope a shift in the artwork and sprites comes in some point in the future.
1. Add More Customization for Trainer Models
Following the release of Nintendo’s app, Miitomo and from being an owner of a 3DS, Wii and WiiU where you can create and edit character models for yourself, I am fed up with the lack of choices you get given.
Miitomo gives anyone with coloured hair, no options to make your Mii actually look like you, unless you want to do what I have and fashion yourself like a character from Splatoon. Pokemon Go gave little appearance customization, so everyone looks like the same old trainer.
I have a feeling some of these will come into effect in the future, but in the mean time, let’s eagerly wait the actual official UK release of Pokemon Go, and the arrival of Pokemon Go Plus.
Expect a video review and Let’s Play of Pokemon Go Plus after its UK release over on my YouTube Channel.