Pokémon Go: A very brief memoir of one Pokémon trainer’s quest to Catch. Play. Love.

By Patrick Tedder

I know much has been said about a little game called Pokémon Go. In fact, I believe such thoughts can already be found on St. Jane Media ;), thoughts I myself have agreed with. Still, I feel so strongly about the new mobile phenomenon that I thought it would be reckless of me to not write about my very own experience to become the very best … the best there ever was!

When I first downloaded the mobile game, I did so with skepticism and jumped on the bandwagon after having to run and catch it. At first, the hype was hardly real. After taking my phone for a walk, I became slightly confused and angry at the lack of direction the game gives. When do I encounter a Pokémon? Do elemental types impact the game? Do certain Pokémon show up in certain locations? Imagine if the very first Pokémon games just set you loose with little to no direction or context?

Near the conclusion of my walk, I felt as though I had accomplished little to nothing. Sure I had passed by “Pokestops” spinning a coin that represents key locations / landmarks in the world, but there we’re no Pokémon!

I decided to take my act on the road and see if I could go to local stores and catch or at least encounter anything within the game. Arriving at a Wal-Mart the game crashed. My character showed up on the screen, but I couldn’t interact with anything or look around the in-game world. This would happen to me after hard restarts for over 3 or 4 times within 3 or 4 hours.

I advanced to a very meager level and quickly deleted the app for the hassle that it was.

I had thought my mind was made up … until I visited the faraway Poké region: Austin Texas.

As if Professor Oak was opening my eyes to the wonderful world of Pokémon, all of my friends were giddily talking about the app, what pocket monsters they had caught and what faction their characters belonged too. Deciding that another try would be harmless under a secure Wi-Fi connection, my second go was already more pleasant as I realized that my previous data had not been deleted.

Then, it dawned on me. What if I warmed up to the game as if I was checking into places on Facebook? Instead of wandering around aimlessly, why not give myself a chance to like the game and see if bugs still persisted?

My new tactic was leveling me up in no time and with glitches few and far between during play time. Then I wondered if the game would be fun as the passenger in a car. Sure enough, we whizzed by Pokestops and areas where Pidgey and Rattata welcomed me back with open arms.

As my time in Austin progressed, so did my trainer level, bringing me to the point in the game where I decide which Pokémon faction I join: Team Red (Valor), Team Yellow (Instinct) or Team Blue (Mystic). I was hooked because, this was a very big decision that much thought was put into. Because I act with valor in everything I do, I finally welcome my new Pokémon family.

As I write this today, I am close to level 14. I’ve fought at numerous gyms and even taken one over. I’ve captured more than my fair share of “common” monsters while exalting at rarer finds and evolutions. And yes, I have still encountered glitches within the game, but nothing so annoying that I can’t forgive the greatness that I am experiencing. You see, like many other players, this app is the culmination of some of my most beloved childhood hobbies. I owned the original games, cards and toys. To have had this when I was young, would probably have been deadly, because, yes, the game is distracting and it’s usually a good habit to look where you’re going when walking about.

Are Pokémon the Greatest Creatures to Never Exist? Yes. Yes, they are.

To own this game as an adult however; it’s like being let loose in a toy store with a real adult salary. Pokémon are the greatest fictional animals ever created. Think of your favorite fantasy animal, like say a dragon and now try to fathom that a company create over 150 interesting fantasy species (much, much more with modern additions). Then, factor in the “catch them all” component that beckons fans like the very idea of capitalism. You want to catch them all right? You want to be the very best, don’t you?

I know that I do. Thanks to Pokémon Go, my inner child can.