1. STRESS RELIEF
To give you a bit of backstory, I stopped playing Pokémon Go when the hype died down last year, and restarted about two weeks, soon after my grandmother passed away. I don’t care what anyone says, video games are one of the best stress relievers out there. My brother and I often take to video games, so as to grieve in peace and bond together. I recently got him back into Pokémon Go [begrudgingly on his part], but I’m secretly enjoying that fact that someone else is playing right along with me – even despite us being on different teams. We both tend to grieve with video games, and these moments I share with him playing Pokémon Go, are no different.
2. POKÉMON GALORE
New Pokémon, more Pokémon, easier to catch Pokémon, and the hopes that soon we’ll be able to trade Pokémon, all have sucked me right back in. I never thought I would see the day that my Vulpix evolves into a Ninetales. I finally got to see Eevee evolve into the second generation evolutions. Name it Sakura for the psychic type, Espeon; or Tamao for the dark type, Umbreon. Generation 2 Pokémon are so interesting looking, and their evolutions are incredible. It seems there is an influx of Pokémon in general. In fact, after the summer solstice, extra fire and water type Pokémon were sent out all over the place. I caught so many of them that I was able to evolve my Ponita into Rapidash, my Shellder into a Cloyster, and my Growlithe into Arcanine. I’m even catching fully evolved Pokémon from both generations. Venusaur, is an example, which is a Pokémon I found so hard to find when I first started playing last year.
3. NO ONE CARES
The hype has died down, and all that I see left playing are die-hard teenage fans, in pockets spread about the city. It was refreshing to see that my team still had the most gyms in my area, even after all the time I spent not playing. However, the fact of the matter is that the urge to take over every single gym has been suppressed. Rivalries still exist outside of the game, in playful fashion, but people aren’t really going out and taking walks at 2am anymore to retake their gyms. A breeder like me can collect, hatch, and evolve in peace. And although I was great are taking over gyms, it was taxing and time consuming to be so competitive. I really get a kick out of filling up my Pokédex.
Yes, even after only a year, playing Pokémon Go after a very long hiatus gives me feelings of nostalgia. I met a lot of really cool people when I was playing Pokémon Go. I met my current partner around the time of its release. I can honestly say, it gave me such happy memories to recall. I competed for gyms here and there, but mostly, I just loved collecting and evolving Pokémon. Nothing was more joyful than finally watching a 10k egg hatch; or those moments when I finally evolved Eevee into all three evolutions available. Vaporeon was the “ruler” of all the gyms in my neighborhood more times than I can recollect. It was a time when you knew that everyone who was sitting or standing in the same spot on their phones was playing Pokémon. “You playin’ Pokémon?” was probably the most asked question in the hood that summer. Even the drug dealers on my block were playing, and I could always count on one of them to drop of a lure at a nearby Pokéstop. I would overhear their conversations as I passed them by, and for a moment it seemed like there was world peace, albeit a chimerical idea at best.
In my Pisces daydreams, I could hope that a game could bring the whole world together, as it seemed to do a year ago; and maybe for a time, it did. One can hope that we can live those times again; smile at strangers again because you know they’re playing Pokémon as you watch them flick Pokéballs; randomly ask strangers what team they’re on, hoping they’re on your team, and feeling such a sense of community even if they aren’t. The world could use a bit of a distraction from the hostility that is breeding in different areas, of late. This game helped me get to know the teens I work with, better. This game had me hugging strangers on my team after a random gym takeover. If a game can do that, I want in. So what’s the harm in playing again? It’s warmer out now in the Northwestern hemisphere, so we have no excuse to get walking and hatch some eggs in the process. Honestly, with the state of things in the world, I’ll take anything if it means a little light and a sprinkle of hope for humanity.