The first game I ever owned was Pokémon Blue on a GameBoy Pocket. I’ve wanted Pokémon to be a reality ever since I picked Squirtle as my starter. Pokémon GO finally made that happen, but it just hasn’t clicked for me.
Sure, there’s a lot to like about Pokémon GO. The game has convinced people to explore their neighborhoods, given everyone a potentially unhealthy addiction to finding new Pokémon, and made sure Nintendo won’t go bankrupt anytime soon.
Which is why I’m committed to liking Pokémon GO even if it isn’t quite perfect. So, as I try to understand why the game has become such a hit with its players, I’ve thought about what the game could learn from everything that came before it.
5. Make it easier to understand how the game works
Pokémon GO is inherently more complicated than other Pokemon games. But that doesn’t mean that the game should be as inscrutable as it currently is. It should take a cue from earlier games and ease gamers into its complex systems.
4. Let me do more with my friends
Right now the only way to battle your friends is to choose an opposing team, wait for that friend to claim a gym, then fight that friend’s Pokémon at that gym. How about enabling player-on-player brawls that don’t require any weird processes?
3. Make the battle system more like other Pokemon games
I’m sure that many people enjoy Pokémon battles that don’t involve any real strategy. But I’m sure many who have grown accustomed to Pokémon knowing four moves used a set amount of times in battle would like to keep the tradition.
2. Don’t make me grind so much before I get to the good stuff
Seriously, I only know that gyms can be claimed because I’ve heard friends talking about it. When you live in a rural area without many Pokémon it’s hard to level up, which means it’s hard to get to many of the game’s more fun aspects.
1. Populate the world with NPCs
Look, I get it. Pokémon GO is supposed to be an MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing games) populated with your friends. But even World of Warcraft has NPCs and makes it easier to play with yourself (euphemism not intended) instead of relying on other people. Give those aspects a boost so people in the middle of nowhere still have something to do.