The Community of Pokemon Go

I doubt I would have played Pokemon if my little sister hadn’t let me borrow her copy of Blue. Our mother had gotten her the game, but my sister was 6 and didn’t really know how to play a grindy RPG. I started up the game and was hooked. The game could be played casually or it can be played intensively. Nintendo knows what fun is and created a world that has been exciting to explore and hardcore if you wanted to put the time in it. It is still one of my favorite franchises. Despite this fact, there has always been a voice inside my head telling me I should be embarrassed for playing such a “kiddie” game. To many, the look of Pokemon is childish and I can’t argue. No matter how much I might tout the depth, most would refer to Jigglypuff, Togepi, and Clefairy as proof that I’m just a thirty-something playing with dolls. As with some of my other hobbies that I’m too old for, I’ve learned to be okay with this voice and ignore it. It doesn’t go away, but it doesn’t affect me directly anymore.

By now, everyone knows of Pokemon GO and most are actively playing it. I’m not normally a fan of free-to-play games, but with Pokemon in the title, I had to give it a chance. As of this post, I’m level 10. I’ve seen 37 unique Pokemon and caught 36 of them over and over again. (I’ll find you again, Haunter!) I’ve evolved some and transferred others. I’ve hatched eggs and started to build a team for gym battles. In less than a week, I consider myself “all-in.”

While I could write about aspects of the game I like or areas of improvement, I really wanted to focus on the community I’ve met in these first days of the game’s launch. The first day I went to a large park, I felt a bit embarrassed walking around with my cell phone out trying to track down a Charmander. My feeling of shame was blinding me to my surroundings. The second day, I started to notice the many other people doing the exact same thing. Plus, they were people like me, men my age. They were people unlike me: kids, mothers, runners, and skateboarders. There isn’t a “type” of player. Everyone is playing. As I walked with my phone out trying to find where Oddish was, I’d walk past someone who would say, “There is an Abra over by the windmill.” I’d exchange knowing nods as I pass others with their phones out. I’ve stopped some people who I’ve passed multiple times to ask them questions about the game. My daughter and I met a little girl and her aunt on a walk/Pokemon hunt. The other little girl immediately wanted to show my daughter the Pokemon she found. Every interaction I’ve had has been kind, fun, and helpful. I’ve taken many walks with and without my daughter. I’ve checked out landmarks around the city I live in, but haven’t noticed until recently. I’ve never played a game that has made me feel more connected to my community.

So, I’m sure to some it might look like I’m solely focused on my phone, but I’m actually walking in and seeing more of my city than I ever have before.

Show and Tell: Little Mac finally joins the fight

littlemac

I know Little Mac doesn’t make it to the top-tier of Nintendo characters, but he and the Punch-Out! franchise is one of my favorites. I owned the original NES game when I was a kid and played it a lot. While I was able to defeat Mike Tyson, I had to play that game so many times to reach that point. Over and over, I punched Mr. Sandman, knocked-out Soda Popinski, and counter-punched Bald Bull. I developed enough muscle memory that when in college, I was able to get straight to Super Macho Man without a loss. While I can’t do that anymore, I still play the game from time to time.

I’m not very good at the Smash Brothers games, but I was very happy to finally see Little Mac be added to the roster. He makes perfect sense and I’m also curious if any of the other fighters will make their appearance in the game.

Also, this graphic (via it8bit) is cool.

expressions

[via Tiny Cartridge]

Show and Tell: How to win at Flappy Bird

You can’t follow social media in the last few days without coming across something Flappy Bird related. It is a very simple game, but one that can quickly lead to frustration. I recently installed the game and spent way longer playing “just one more time” then I should have. My high score is still pretty pathetic, but thankfully the people at Dumb Stupid Videos have an answer. Below is how to win at Flappy Bird.

[via Kotaku]

UPDATE: I originally wrote this before I found out that the creator has pulled the app. Hopefully, some of you were saved from the horrors known as Flappy Bird.

flappy6

Show and Tell: Zelda: 4 Swords Free for 4 days

4 swords logo
4 swords screenshot

Between now and Sunday, Feb. 2nd at 11:59 pm, 3DS owners can download “The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary Edition” free from the 3DS eShop.

My friends and I played a little of 4 Swords on the GBA remake of Link to the past with GBA SPs and enjoyed it. I bought 4 Swords Adventures on the Gamecube, but we never got around to really digging into the game. I’m really excited to finally play this game without any wires.

[via Joystiq]

7 years

Etrian Odyssey
This past weekend I finished Etrian Odyssey. It is a DS game that I’ve played on-and-off for 7 years since it released. I only have around 100 hours logged into the game so I’ve clearly taken many breaks between play sessions. These “pauses” were not because I found the game boring, but due to the game’s high difficulty. Etrian Odyssey is unforgiving and will not hesitate to find a weakness in your carefully created party. What makes the game compelling is that each victory taste sweeter than many other games I’ve played. While the game could be oppressive enough where I needed a break, I eventually came back.

I didn’t sit down to review a 7-year-old game though. While basking in the glow of defeating the end boss, I focused on the fact that this game was now 7 years old. It amazed me how much the game got to see me change, if games could notice such things.

  • I started playing EO while I would take the bus to work. My wife and I only had the one car, so the bus was my main mode of transportation.
  • The team I created in-game saw me change my job responsibilities twice. Fitting that each move was into more managerial roles.
  • We moved from our rented apartment to our owned house in between play sessions.
  • I didn’t have a daughter when I loaded up the game for the first time, and I ended the game with a beautiful 2-year-old.

This post can easily be boiled down to, “7 years is a long time and a lot can happen.” I just don’t normally reflect on my milestones in contrast to how far I was in a game.