Pokemon GO is fun again, thanks to COVID-19

Chris Burns - Apr 3, 2020, 4:55 pm CDT
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Pokemon GO is fun again, thanks to COVID-19

During the outbreak of COVID-19, novel coronavirus, the global pandemic, and the quarantine therein, Niantic’s made Pokemon GO fun again. At the start, the game held great potential. It was the closest a gamer could get to the feeling of finding, capturing, and battling Pokemon in the real world. Then it got complicated. Now, here amid massive changes made by its creator to make the game playable during quarantine, Pokemon GO’s become fun once again.

I quit a while ago

If we take a peek back to September of 2017, we find an article entitled Pokemon GO just committed a cardinal sin, so I quit. Back then I was dismayed to find that Niantic was ramping up efforts to earn ever-increasing amounts of revenue.

But I came back, from time to time. Given my chosen profession, it only seemed natural to check in every once in a while. It still seemed sorta fun, but getting up and out seemed like more of a chore than it was worth.

The fun part of Pokemon GO, at the start, was the walking around and the tracking of the Pokemon. I liked to feeling that certain goals could only be met if I literally moved myself to specific locations in my city, and beyond. But it got complicated – and it got repetitive.

Why it’s fun again

The features of the game that I enjoyed at inception became too much work, in my mind. It felt like I wasn’t accomplishing anything when I had to walk around town to capture Pokemon and spin Pokestops to collect Pokeballs.

Here during global pandemic for COVID-19, the elements that I found too labor-intensive have become my favorite parts of the game. Niantic’s updates for coronavirus made a bunch of changes that allow the game to be more social without the need for me to leave my home… but now I can’t help but feel the need to leave my home, because I’m part of this global quarantine.

Pokemon GO still works with GPS-centric features, and gives rewards (of sorts) for walking around. I live in a city that’s fairly spread out, where the population isn’t particularly dense, so I’m able to walk around and play Pokemon GO without any sort of major risk of spreading disease – so long as I stay outdoors and remain more than 26 feet away from all people at all times.*

Pokemon GO is, once again, a game in which I can get exercise and have fun semi-socially, and I STILL don’t need to physically interact with other people to do it! I enjoy playing Pokemon GO again, and by the looks of the charts, I’m not the only one who feels this way.

*Actually, it’s safer to just stay home, regardless of how dense the population is around my home city. But given Niantic’s latest changes to Pokemon GO, that shouldn’t be much of an issue anyway. Now I’m just walking back and forth across the living room instead!


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