Pokémon GO: A Game of Broken Promises

There are a lot of games in the world are filled with promise. Unfortunately, not all of them live up to this promise. And even more unfortunately, that includes Pokémon GO.

Hi, I’m Chelsea. I’m an editor here at Culture of Gaming and I’m a massive Pokémon fan. I’ve been one since I got my hands on Pokémon Sapphire back in the day.

And yes, I still play Pokémon GO. Even bought the Pokémon GO Plus.

When it was first announced, I was incredibly excited. A free mobile Pokémon game that allows you to catch Pokémon while you walk around? Sign me up! I saw it as a good way to get my fitness up, at least a little bit. I’m not overweight or anything, don’t get me wrong, I’m just not in the best physical condition. I’m working on it.

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When Pokémon GO was first announced there was a lot of hype around it. And I mean a LOT. A good number of my friends talked non-stop about their childhoods coming back to life. I was hyped for it too. I was excited to play it simply for the sake that it was a Pokémon game on my phone!

There were so many promises that came attached to this game. Of course we didn’t expect them right away; that would be insane. Unfortunately… some of these promises were delivered rather late, or haven’t been spoken about much at all since Pokémon GO’s 2016 release.

When I first downloaded Pokémon GO I didn’t actually give much thought to it. I am and always have been a collector of Pokémon. I am hardly a battler. In the main games I am always more focused on attempting to complete my Pokédex to the best of my ability. Competing in tournaments or challenges is not my thing. Thus I really don’t give a crap about effort values or natures or what-have-you. My focus was simply to collect as many Pokémon as I could.

This was hard for two reasons.

I wish this was me. No. I would be lucky to get three in one spot.

One: I was staying with my mother, in the middle of woop-woop. I was in regional Victoria, Australia, at the time of download. Do you know what this means? A plethora of bug Pokémon, of Rattata and Pidgey, and what I like to affectionately call ‘cave herpes’: Zubat.

When I did finally go home, to the city, it wasn’t much better because I lived in an outer suburb. There was the occasional Oddish and Bellsprout, as well as a sparse spattering of Paras. The CBD was the best place for me to catch Pokémon, but with school four days a week it was a pain in the neck to go catch anything.

Two: half the time, the game wasn’t working. The servers couldn’t take the amount of people online at once and would die. This was a massive irritation for me. I am not a patient woman by any means and the constant crashes nearly made me throw my phone onto concrete multiple times.

But these problems were easily fixable.

The true problem is the fact that the Pokémon available to me never changed. It was always the same set of Pokémon, and the infrequent rare ones that popped up just happened to appear at ridiculous hours of the night or exactly when I could not get them. I stopped playing the game for a time because of this, only really turning it on when I was walking a fair distance (to hatch my Eggs) or when I was in the city/a new town.

Alas, it has only been fairly recently – with the additions of Johto and Hoenn Pokémon, Raid Battles, and the dynamic weather system – that Pokémon GO has become fun again. At least for me. But these positive changes have come too late for a lot of players I know. As it is, we still haven’t been given the option of trading, one of the biggest promises to the player-base. And while we have a little bit of Trainer customization, it’s still a smidge lack-lustre.

Pokémon GO
This recent addition has me playing more.

There’s another thing I am salty about. Region exclusivity.

Being Australian, I am fairly lucky to have the region-exclusive Kangaskhan. And I was even luckier to be able to get Farfetch’d when it was briefly available worldwide. Yet region exclusivity, in my general opinion, should not be in the game. It’s one of the major things that have put me off it. I am not sure if you can hatch region exclusive Pokémon from Eggs, either, which makes my collection all the more difficult.

So far, region exclusive Pokémon are Farfetch’d, Kangaskhan, Mr. Mime, Tauros, Heracross, Corsola, Plusle, Minun, Zangoose, and Seviper. I have seen a Mr. Mime and a Tauros, but most often getting these requires cheating or changing your regions, both of which can get you locked out of your account. It is not worth the risk. So, without trading available, the only option is to travel and for some people that is not an option.

And that’s what I dislike about region exclusivity. I believe it should be removed. I can understand why it’s a thing – it convinces people to go travel the world and see things they might not have ever dreamed of seeing – but no. It’s a terrible mechanic. Especially for people who cannot afford to travel, or can’t travel due to other circumstances.

One last thing I dislike is the availability of Legendary Pokémon. They’re only available in Raid Battles and unfortunately, where I live, nobody goes Raiding anymore. While I get that Legendary Pokémon are MEANT to be rare, I feel that Raid Battles are a poor way to make them accessible.

Worldwide events – where they appear for like a week to find and catch – would be a better alternative (and can they please NOT be just in Japan or the Americas?). For people who can’t get to Raid Battles or don’t have the means to defeat the Raid Boss because they don’t have a group, this would be a far better option. It wouldn’t even have to be frequent; just a few times a year.

Of course, these are just my opinions.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Pokémon GO; it’s a good little game, gets me out of the house, gives me something to do when I’ve got nothing else on. But it was full of promises that were not delivered and there are aspects that could be better.

The aspects that have made it better have come far too late, but while this made be the case, at least those of us who still play still number many, if recent events are to go by.

With more improvements on the way, we can only wait with bated breath to see what happens next… and when trading will FINALLY be implemented.

If you’re like me, you still play but you don’t have a Pokémon GO Plus, pick one up here!

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Chelsea McPherson

Chelsea McPherson is a young self-published author with a perchance for writing dark fantasy or fanfiction. When she's not writing or studying she's playing games or reading.

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