I’m staring at my local gym leader’s cp 1323 Exeggutor and struggling to understand the popularity of Pokémon Go. It’s been a few weeks since the game came out and I just don’t get. My day job is literally to get this kind of stuff, to understand what makes a trending game interesting to the millions of people who play it, but it’s hard. As someone deeply embedded in the games industry, I’ve never felt more out of touch. Maybe I’m getting old.
Alright, well to be fair, I do understand the basic allure of Pokémon Go. Pokémon is a huge franchise with a lot of nostalgia attached to it. It’s no surprise people familiar with Pikachu and the gang are checking out the app. I also see why the quirky ARG overlay of Pokémon sitting on your coffee table or something is funny in a gimmicky sort of way—hey, look, it’s Koffing in a vape shop. Hell, I can even see why folks rally around the fictional teams of Valor, Mystic, and Instinct. We’re all familiar with group mentality and the sorting hat.