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OPINION: Why am I still playing Pokémon GO?

08:11 PM June 16, 2022

Why am I still playing Pokémon GO?

Gone were the days when a bunch of people — basically just about everyone you know — went outside with their smartphones in hand just so they can catch that rare spawn up ahead the street. And yet here I am still playing the augmented reality game as if it’s still 2016.

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Nevertheless, despite the wane of Pokémon GO’s popularity amongst the common folk, the game is doing surprisingly well. So well, in fact, that their last year’s revenue was reported to be at USD $904.62M. So much for a fad, if I must say.

In my case, I still enjoy playing Pokémon GO. I still play it religiously, trying my best to open it at least once a day for the in-game rewards and streak bonuses. However, that is not without a few complaints from here and there. In fact, the last Pokémon GO Fest I participated a couple of weekends past was somewhat of, for a lack of a better, more euphemistic term, a scam.

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Where are the shinies?

If there is one aspect in Pokémon GO that makes people continue grinding then it has to be shiny Pokémon. Sure, some would say it’s the completion of one’s Pokédex (which is technically impossible given Kecleon is still missing from the game) or the PVP. Truth be told, ever since the pandemic, there’s not much to do (and go) for most of the time so shiny hunting is the top priority for most dedicated players.

As such, Pokémon GO Fests, like the rest of Pokémon GO’s massive events, are one way to gather copious amounts of shinies. For this year, Pokémon GO Fest returned with much anticipation. It’s an event where EVERYONE gets a shiny. Supposedly.

Unfortunately, it couldn’t be further than the truth. Pokémon GO Fest 2022 was a massive disappointment. For them, it might seem like a success — as we collectively caught a billion Pokémon, spun over 750 million PokéStops, and explored over 100 million kilometers over the course of just two days — but it was simply not. Why? A lot of people did not get their well-deserved shinies. Just look at the influx of complaints on Twitter just mere hours after the event.

If you think that’s bad, think again. The event had an option wherein you can opt to buy a ticket that unlocks special research tasks for the event. Most people paid and bought the said ticket. Most people got ripped off. The only perk a ticket holder ever had was that they got the mythical Pokémon Shaymin (Land Forme) earlier than those who did not buy the ticket.

Okay, one can point out that players who did not buy the ticket were still able to participate in the event (albeit in a very limited fashion). However, we — the players who spent our hard-earned cash for a virtual ticket — expected WAY MORE shinies as we had access to way more exclusive Pokémon. If we’re paying for something then at least make us feel like we actually won something.

That shiny Mew was a Special Research encounter that I left sitting for way too long. It does not count in the Pokémon GO Fest 2022 shiny tally.

As for my personal experience, I paid PHP 785 (for God’s sake) only for me to get one measly shiny Bronzor. Where the [redacted] are the rest of my shinies?!

What keeps me playing?

Forgive me for my frustration but Pokémon GO Fests used to not suck at all. I’ve always been looking forward to Pokémon GO events as the thought of a glorious collection of shinies excites me — and it sure did suck the fun out of the game once Pokémon GO Fest 2022 concluded.

Having caught a shiny Snubbull the night prior to the event raised my hopes up. Boy was I definitely wrong!

As a Pokémon GO Fest 2022 ticket-holder, I do have access to the upcoming special finale event taking place on Saturday, August 27, 2022 (which would’ve cost around USD 10.99). However, I am not looking forward to it. Definitely have a bad taste currently lingering in my mouth post-Pokémon GO Fest 2022.

So will I keep playing? Absolutely. The grind never stops. Just like the Pokémon anime’s original theme song, I want to be the very best — and the best don’t stop just because of a setback. I just hope, just like when I fervently prayed for Pokémon to become true in real life as a kid, or when I won my very first Pokémon GO championship during my university’s intramurals, that all will be better.

As mentioned before, I still enjoy (and love) playing Pokémon GO. My passion for it will never be snuffed out as long as its servers are still up and running. I truly do hope Niantic does not give any more reasons for the remaining player base to turn away and leave. After all, the game was built on the foundations of a thriving, persevering community. What use will a community-based game be when there’s no community playing it anymore?

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TAGS: Pokémon, Pokémon GO
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