Today, I was supposed to do a book review. That became an issue, because I haven’t finished a book yet this year. I have been reading a bunch, when I’ve had the time/made the time for it, but the other problem is that the time I have taken to read has been spent burning through the book Caitlin already reviewed – Anna Kendrick’s Scrappy Little Nobody.
As much as I could rave about how she’s an empowering, earnest and witty pint-sized force of nature, that doesn’t really help with the plan to review a book you haven’t already heard us talk about.
But, it is Thoughtful Thursday – which we said was going to be partly tech reviews and partly reflective ones on things that get us thinking… and of all things, Pokemon Go hits both notes right now.
After a protracted period of dormancy – remember how suddenly it seemed to take over everything when it first came out? – Pokemon Go was back in the trending stories and public consciousness recently when they released a host of new features and, more importantly, the Gen II Pokemon being added.
I decided to boot it up again and say hello to my team – I have an Eevee called ‘Scout’ I’ve walked over 50km as my almost-permanent buddy – and everything is immediately very familiar. As with the mainstream Pokemon games, they’ve gotten very good at basically keeping the same concept for 20 years and somehow keeping us all interested with incremental additions.
The hook is simple – a host of new Pokemon to capture means you get those starting-steps, new-experiences endorphins all over again when you find something you hadn’t before. Repeated hits of the 500 bonus XP you get for the first catch of a new species help retain you when you realize just how long the grind between levels is, too.
It’s a simple strategy, but unbelievable effective – after being out with the dogs yesterday, well after dark, in the wind and cold, we backtracked a reasonable distance because holy crap, there’ a Chikorita at that stop by the beach!
Along with the incremental additions of multi-day streaks – catching at least one Pokemon and triggering at least one Pokestop per day for major bonuses – there’s now a 50XP bonus for every catch if you make it on the first throw – a sure-fire way to get that achievement-endorphin loop of next-time-I’ll-get-it-perfect that’s psychologically proven to be why games like Candy Crush are such cash cows for their makers.
Speaking of cash – as with any good update, they added more things for you to spend money on to justify to the accountants all the work they did all the new features. The clothing customization is actually half decent now, imagine that.
So it’s very much a case of “meet the new Pokemon Go, same as the old Pokemon Go”, but as the worldwide celebrations of Pokemon’s 20th anniversary proved… if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Just add the odd shiny new thing for people to get excited about now and then.