As someone who purchases only one or two games a year, I usually miss out on many video games, including the ones that become massive hits. I didn’t play the 2015 RPG Undertale, and I didn’t play the 2016 shooter Overwatch. However, by the time they came out, they were the hottest crazes in gaming. Almost everyone knew what the game was, and a good majority played it and loved it. For the most part, I’m not bothered with it at all; I’m not really into gaming all that much, so I’m content with missing out on something in favor of me playing games I already like instead. That is until this past summer, when the iOS and Android game Pokémon Go, developed by Niantic, was released. On the very first day it came out, it became the biggest thing in pop culture. It seemed that nearly everyone downloaded the game, and everyone was exploring their communities in order to catch them all…but not me. With a string of bad timing and a poor location, I couldn’t be a part of the fun, even though it was something I had dreamed of doing since I was a child.
To put into perspective, I love Pokemon. I’ve loved it since I was a little kid. I watched the anime constantly, and I played Pokemon Silver on my Game Boy Color too many times to count, and I still buy every new game when it comes to stores. It had an “easy to play, hard to master” style that I was able to really appreciate, and the idea of catching as many different creatures as I possibly could, all the while trading and sharing my collection with others, was beyond exciting!. And like any Pokemon fan, the one thing I’ve wanted more than anything was for Pokemon to be real, so I could become a Pokemon master like Ash Ketchum. It obviously will never happen in real life, so Pokemon Go was the perfect substitute for that.
When I went to Sea Isle City for summer vacation, the first thing I did was download the app onto my phone. I booted up and…the servers were off due to massive activity. I would wait another day, and…the servers were still off due to massive activity. I would wait another day, and…I got through the servers, but the loading screen that would take me into the game wouldn’t finish loading, and by that point, I pretty much gave up. When I got back home, I attempted again, and the servers were still not cooperating and not letting me work, and the few times I actually got to play the game, I was stuck in suburbia, and the only Pokemon that were around that I could catch consisted of Rattatas and Pidgeys, both of which are not the most exciting Pokemon in the franchise. It also didn’t help that by the time I returned home, the Pokemon Go craze was slowly dying down to the point that most people didn’t talk about it anymore, which meant that I was completely late to the party.
It’s unfortunate that, as everyone else just went out and had fun, the one childhood dream I’ve always wanted I could never obtain. People were endlessly tweeting and sharing their roster, gameplay footage, and fan-made content all over the Internet, but I had nothing to share, due to a faulty server system. I know that with the hype dying down, I can likely have a better time with the servers. for now, that feeling of everyone catching them all and being swept up by Pokemania has disappeared, and probably won’t happen again anytime in the future. That emotion and feeling of the entire country obsessing and adoring one of my treasured childhood possessions is gone, and can never be truly re-created, at least not until a few years later. But hey, at least Nintendo’s next mobile game Super Mario Run looks cool!