Pokemon Go: Two years later

Carlos Sanchez, Writer

Back in the summer of 2016, we as a species got the closest we will ever get to world peace. It was the summer Pokemon Go came out. When it first released it had only the first 151 Pokemon (minus the legendaries and Ditto). People were outside (some for the first time) walking around catching these monsters. In this game there were three teams Mystic, Valor, and Instinct. Except no one chooses instinct. No one. Around the world were gyms you could claim for your team and put you Pokemon in for ten pokecoins (the in-game currency) every twenty one hours. You could get free items from pokestops and they gave a little experience points (XP). But the main attraction was catching the Pokemon. You get them by throwing pokeballs at it and hoping you got it. There were three kinds of pokeballs (Poke, Great, and Ultra) but most people left before they could level up to get the better ones. You evolve your Pokemon by giving it the candy of its species. The game was a hit. Then the summer ended and the game pretty much died at breakneck speeds. But Niantic and Game Freak kept on improving their one hit wonder.

Now it’s been over two years since the game first launched. In a month Game freak will release their new game, Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee. These new games are remakes of the original two game, Pokemon Red and Blue. Except they are in a Pokemon Go style. They will have Pokemon Go catching and no random Pokemon encounters. The new games will heavily interact with Pokemon Go. You can even send your Pokemon from Pokemon Go to the new games. So now with people hyped for the new games, many are returning to Pokemon Go. A lot has changed since 2016.

The first big thing they added was Ditto. Ditto will be disguised as another Pokemon. It’ll pop up and say if you “Oh?” and the Pokemon will transform into a Ditto. But they are only in trash Pokemon like Pidgey. Then they threw in daily rewards. if you catch a Pokemon every day for a week you get extra XP on the seventh day. And if you spin a Pokestop every day for a week you’ll get an evolution stone. These are needed to evolve certain Pokemon like Slowpoke or Sunkern.

Sunkern is special because their from the second generation of Pokemon. This brought over a hundred new Pokemon. Then about a year later they brought in the generation three Pokemon which added another hundred plus Pokemon. So now there is well over three hundred and fifty different Pokemon. The Pokestops are the same but the Poke Gyms are drastically different. Now there will always be six spots in them. You earn pokecoins when the Pokemon is knocked out of the gym by a rival team. You can earn up to fifty coins a day but they don’t stack. Gyms now have their Pokestops and the home of a new huge feature, raids.

Raids are how you get legendary and mythical Pokemon. You get one free raid pass a day or you buy them. A huge egg will appear on the top of a gym and once it hatches the raid boss Pokemon will be on top and have a lot of XP. A raid can be something from a dumb Magikarp to the legendary MewTwo. MewTwo and Deoxys can only be attained by a EX raid. If you win a raid, there’s a chance to get a EX raid pass. It’ll tell you what day, what time, and where to go for the EX raid. Only people with the pass can get in. Winning an EX raid gives you a lot of great items like berries (berries help you catch Pokemon or give you extra candy for it) and a chance to catch the Pokemon. The legendaries are really hard to catch, even with a perfect golden Razz berry, ultra ball, excellent curve throw. You can go to a raid with a bunch of your friends and it’s great.

Speaking of friends (I’m on point with these transitions) they added the feature to add friends! As you play raids together or send each others gifts (an item with random objects that can not be opened by you) or trade (yes, trading) with them, your friendship level increases. When trading there’s a chance that the Pokemon you trade could become lucky Pokemon which makes the max CP (combat power) higher than normal. In those gifts you can get what’s called an Alolan Pokemon. It’s an older Pokemon with a new design.

As of today, October 12, Niantic revealed that the fourth generation is coming soon. And the brand new Pokemon, Meltan (a cute little white Ditto thing) has been revealed to turn into some kind of beast. Every month for about four hours they have what’s called community day, where a (usually) rare Pokemon is more common and so is their shiny form. Shinies are very rare color variants for the Pokemon. Another hue things are field and mythical research which is basically a bunch of challenges to get special Pokemon.

A lot has changed since 2016. Some stuff I didn’t even list! In the Austin area we have a large group called the POGO 512, that goes to raids together and hosts events. It’s a big opportunity to meet new people. I have met the most unlikely yet amazing people with the group. The game may be “dead” but the group has over 9,000 people. Pokemon Go has always been about the community since the beginning and it will always be. It’ll keep changing and evolving over time. And the end is nowhere in sight.