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We are all playing Pokemon Go here. What of it there is to play. The experience of Pokemon Go could be described as thin. The game consists primarily of going for a walk and getting interrupted. That may not sound particularly fun but that would be missing the point. What Pokemon Go offers is wish fulfilment.
The original Pokemon games were simple RPG games made for kids between the ages of around 8 to 15. You would walk your character around a few small towns in a fictional land searching out and capturing all sorts of imaginary animals. You then train your new pets for combat and pit them against other cute animals. You know, like kids do. An awful lot of kids explored that fictional world. They combed every square inch trying to find a Squirtle or a Kadabra, but they did it largely alone, and on a screen.
I wasn’t the right age when Pokemon hit North America full force so it never really resonated with me, but the idea that you could walk around your own town or your own neighborhood with your friends to search for those same fictional creatures was the stuff of daydreams for a lot of kids. A lot of kids that are now grown into adults. Still, childhood daydreams endure, and gathering cute imaginary animals remains an attractive pursuit.
Sure Pokemon Go is a simplistic game, and the gym battles miss out on a lot of the strategic depth that could be found in the original, turn based, combat system, but it delivers wish fulfilment in spades. With the promise of augmented reality games like Pokemon Go, or more theme park styled, location based, virtual reality games, it makes me wonder what other daydreams could be made real.

This post is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 by the author.
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