A good walk, spoiled?

Ah, Golf. Game of kings and gentleme…

No, hang on, that’s not right. I’m here to talk about videogames.

Specifically, it it’s not obvious by now, Pokémon Go.

I, like the vast majority of us, downloaded this several months ago now and have pretty much “played” it every day since. Even if it’s just sitting in my pocket ticking away the miles while I walk to Starbucks at lunchtime.

It’s compulsive in many ways, the early game is certainly compelling, with new Pokémon around every corner, and the tantalising upgrade path there for all to see. But this much you know. It then gets massively dull, again as you know, as the corners of your Pokédex (or whatever the hell it’s called) slowly fill in and you’re left with rarer and harder to obtain monsters (I’m going to stop typing Pokémon because that accent is doing my head in) to fill in the gaps. Of course, by now, I’ve got hundreds of kilometres beneath my trainer’s feet, and I could even argue that by gamifying my daily walk, it has even contributed positively to my general health, weight and fitness. And with so much time, and mileage, commited to the game I’m not going to give up now. Not until I evolve that bloody Machoke anyway.

But, really, it’s a shit game. There’s simply not enough to it to make me want to play – other than the core notion of collecting ’em all. The upgrade/evolution path is just dull – with one single exception that I have found, a monster upgrades to another bigger monster and that’s it. The gym battles serve no particular purpose aside from being the only free way to amass the in-game coinage. Catching wild monsters is a random challenge – I guess aligned to your trainer level at a push. Just dullness heaped upon dullness heaped upon dullness.

Would it have hurt to make the evolutionary paths a bit more interesting? To allow you to upgrade monsters quicker via gym battles? To actually have some game elements in there somewhere? Or would that have simply broken the core Pokémon-ness of the game?

Maybe I should take up Golf after all…


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