Hello, and welcome to [DFOnline]. MikeWallaceandGromit is off tonight. I’m Senor Weaselo.
The game currently sweeping the world, or at least everyone under the age of 30, is Pokemon Go, for your smart mobile device. The way it works is fairly simple. You go around your neck of the woods, phone on, find Pokemon, try to catch said Pokemon. And holy shit yes it’s just the original 150 (151? Is it too much to hope for a Mew event?), but point remains, there’s no confusing “How many Pokemon are there again since they’ve added so many?” It’s just the original ones we know and love. And also Mr. Mime. I haven’t seen one yet, but it’s probably somewhere.
If you’re looking for the exact same thing as the last god-knows-how-many Pokemon games, there are differences. You don’t get to train your Pokemon the old-fashioned way of “go to this place for a long time and beat down wild Pokes until overleveled, go to gym, repeat at next route,” but by catching a shit-ton of the same thing to collect species-specific leveling candy which will strengthen and evolve your Pokemon of that chain. This is why everyone’s strongest monster seems to be a Pidgeot, Fearow, or Golbat, because every other Pokemon you see will be a Pidgey, Spearow, or Zubat. (Actually, that is like every Pokemon game.)
Gyms: Instead of going around set points to get badges, there are three teams (Valor, Mystic, and Instinct, or Red, Blue, and Yellow like the original games with mascots of Moltres, Articuno, and Zapdos of course) to try and control Gyms, which are points here and there somebody deemed worthy of getting a Gym. This is the only time your Pokemon actually get to fight because they don’t have PvP yet, and even on this one you put a monster against the Gym and it does whatever against an AI attacking, you’re not attacking a human controlled player. But so far, it’s been a good-natured three-way turf. I give it a week and a half until there’s a news report of someone getting stabbed/shot over a Gym changing hands. If your Gym controls it and your Pokemon is strong enough you can get in on it and be a Gym Leader. I took over the Gym at the farm near my house (yes, there is a farm in New York City, believe it or not) and decided that only Pokemon I put in Gyms would be nicknamed, so I named my Fearow Barnstormer. Barnstormer then lost to the people right next to me also trying to claim the Gym, but for a couple minutes I was a Gym Leader.
The biggest complaint by far is the servers. If you want the full ‘90s experience, you got it, because the servers will crap out on you all the time, and especially if it’s midday or if you’re fighting a Gym battle! They’re working on it because they underestimated the number of people or something like that, because they didn’t believe everyone would want to play Pokemon on their phones. This is actually worst in Gym battles, where you’re winning but something breaks so you don’t get to land the finishing hit on a Pokemon and it just times out and you have to force quit. Eight times in a row. And on the ninth the server is down for the next 20 minutes and you go “fuck it.”
Apart from that, it’s addicting just on the merits of “Oh holy shit, it’s a ____, I need to catch it.” Because we all wanted to be Pokemon Masters when we were little, and now we can at least try. I was way too excited to catch a Fearow (Barnstormer actually) because it was stronger than the one I had, and way too disappointed at that Porygon running away. And if you understood and recognized any of the proper nouns in this write-up, that’s enough of a reason to get Pokemon Go. But let’s be honest you probably already have it in that case, since it costs nothing but whatever the inevitable data overages will cost you (but it hasn’t been too bad for me, in almost three days I’ve used about 85 MB). So who’s got stories? What team’d you pick, what cool things did you catch, what’s your main squad?