DanDan, Kokoro, and… Pokémon GO?!

As you may have noticed from my previous articles, I do enjoy my share of video games. I also talked in my last interview with Kokoro about my small addiction and obsession with arcades and UFO Catchers in Japan. But there’s one game in particular I didn’t have time to gush over – Pokémon GO!

You might say, ‘wow, that’s kind of boring’ or ‘really, Pokémon GO?’, but hear me out! When it first came out back in 2016, I had never played a single one of the franchise’s games growing up, though I did enjoy watching the anime on TV both in Romania and Canada.

Those of you who played Pokémon GO might remember that summer because it was one of those rare moments where people willingly walked out of their houses to achieve one common goal – catch ‘em all!

Ok, sure some took it a bit too far and acted questionably or dangerously to say the least, so please don’t do that! The point is, it was nice to see parks and neighbourhoods filled with people of all ages, either enjoying the Pokémon nostalgia or discovering the game for the first time.

Unfortunately, the hype went by pretty quickly, or at least in Canada it did. I was one of the people who uninstalled the app after a couple of months because I couldn’t convince anyone to head out on walks with me just so that I could complete my collection. Games are fun when played with other people, shocking I know…

Well fast forward just a few years later when I was in Japan and I realized that the game was not only alive and well there, but so. many. people still played it and participated in its numerous events.

From office workers in formal attire, to elementary school children, to grandparents, you could see all kinds of gatherings at any time of the day to take down some tough raid or catch some rare Pokémon.

Alright, I’ll admit it did seem a bit strange at first to see groups of 20-30 people standing in front of a store, not interacting with each other in any way, but staring at their phones trying to complete whatever they were up to.

But hey, that meant I could also do the same! I could finally participate in all the events that I missed out on in Canada, so I caved in and reinstalled the app. And wow! There were so many new features, entire generations of Pokémon added on, so much I could do now!

And on top of that, a small miracle happened. I convinced Kokoro to join me (she was far more concerned about the awkward gatherings in random places around the city than I was). She rarely plays video games (or even mobile games), so it was a huge victory for her to even try it.

It didn’t take very long and it became one of our favourite things to do together. We would go out on daily walks in the park, and yes, even participate in raids and community events. The latter happened once per month and, trust me, I am not exaggerating when I am saying that for the one hour that it lasted, every single person who was in the park was hunting Pokémon on one device – sometimes more!

I know some people might judge the players, but to me it just feels like a wholesome activity that you can either do by yourself if you fancy, or bond over with your friends and family. We never completed our collection, or even reached the maximum level, but hey, between this, baseball games, and UFO Catchers, I love bonding over the small things that take your mind away from work or other things.

Oh, and I finally got a Charizard. I’m pretty happy with that.