The Game That Never Dies

By Presley Allen, Lokesh Bhardwaj, Phillip Leung, and Ruby Martinez

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Ella Reed, a sophomore majoring in computer science at LBCC, walks around campus searching for the digital Pokémon creatures.

Presley Allen
Ella Reed, a sophomore majoring in computer science at LBCC, walks around campus searching for the digital Pokémon creatures.

Entering college as a freshman may seem daunting, but what’s a better way to meet new people who share a common interest than playing Pokémon GO?

Pokémon GO is a massively multiplayer mobile game in which players can catch Pokémon in their everyday lives. The application utilizes a phone’s GPS to mirror the player’s real-time movements onto the screen. As the player moves, Pokémon spawn around them and the player throws “PokéBalls” to collect them.

“It connects people with a common interest [since] a big part of the game is moving around,” sophomore Ella Reed said. “Admittedly, I wasn’t into Pokémon before. It was really all the hype and people getting on it that got me into it.”

Ella Reed, a sophomore a LBCC majoring in computer science, walks around campus searching for the digital creatures. Reed tells of her experiences around campus and the Long Beach area catching and battling these Pokémon. Although she claims the game uses up her phone battery, she laughed and said she loves being part of the team.

Just last week she met with 12 other players at the Carson Street overpass to battle a legendary Pokémon, Articuno.

“I became more outgoing with people [after playing the game] and it’s a good conversation starter. [The game] brings people together,” Reed said. “It’s neat because you also get info about historical or important landmarks and learn about the environment and the city.”

Freshman Jenny Nguyen knew friends from Vietnam who have been playing the game for over six months. She began playing the game with her ex-boyfriend.

“I’m not really a video game person, but it’s kind of fun when we walk around, look around, and catch [Pokémon],” Nguyen said.

Unlike other video games, Pokémon GO rewards physical activity. Players who walk longer distances have the opportunity to encounter rarer Pokémon and expand their collection.

“The game encourages healthy living. You have to walk over to a place to catch a Pokémon. For example, I go down to The Pike, the aquarium, local parks and the shoreline.” Reed said. “The downside of the game is that it uses up a lot of phone battery.”

Four of five LBCC students asked said they didn't enjoy playing Pokemon GO.

Presley Allen
Four of five LBCC students asked said they didn’t enjoy playing Pokemon GO.

Other players, such as junior music major Slade McMurray, were disappointed in the game after playing Pokémon throughout their childhood. He said the app was lacking original content pertaining to the version previously played on a Gameboy.

“I stopped playing Pokémon GO because it didn’t have certain things I wanted, such as gyms to train Pokémon and [region-based] Pokémon,”  McMurray said. “It was anticipated by people to be a lot more than what was there.”

According to ComScore Custom Analytics, Pokémon GO boasted a 28.5 million global player base at the height of its popularity. In 2017, the player base has declined to a little more than 5 million.

“Although it’s less popular since it first came out, the game is still more popular than people realize,” Reed said. “There’s less casual people playing, but more people who do enjoy it. They’re not doing it for the popularity, they’re doing it because they’re passionate.”

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