Pop CultureJanuary 8, 2017

Summer reissue: That time we said Pokémon GO was crap


Right when the Pokémon Go orgy was at its height, Joseph Harper filed this review. It was to become one of our most controversial gaming posts ever as Joseph found it overwhelmingly pointless and bad.

Originally published July 8, 2016

When the Pokémon GO trailer was hurled onto the internet last year, it seemed too good to be true.

Playing Pokémon in the real world seemed fricking awesome. When I played Pokémon as a kid that was the dream. To roam along a canal or something, throwing Pokéballs at wild Abras and giving them names. Every Poké-maniac dreamed that dream.

Pokémon GO is is an augmented reality game that sucks the shit out of your battery while you walk around finding Pokémon and catching them via tapping the screen. It’s free-to-play but of course there are in-app purchases. It’s proven disgustingly popular and apparently its servers have been crashing all over the show.


I should like this game. Aside from lil kiddies, I’m probably the main target market in that I have several Pokémon figurines at my house year round and love playing games on my phone. But Pokémon GO turned out to be really boring and lame (and that’s coming from a guy who has continued feeding his digital nekos on Neko Atsume three times a day even though I clocked the game months ago (humblebrag)).

I love the idea of geo-gaming, but in practice it’s annoying. It’s the worst parts of ‘video games’ and ‘going outside’ combined into one embarrassing lump. Look, maybe I’m a lazy dumbass, but I don’t want the games I play to be exercise for my legs. This isn’t Strava or Zwift. I want to sit on my butt and eat chippies and maybe drink beer and ‘exercise my mind’. The only thing I really love about it is the cool gyakusou aesthetic.


It’s also lacking the thrill of the original games because the battling mechanics suck. In handheld Pokémon games, the stakes are pretty low. If you fail, you lose some money and at worst have to walk back through an annoyingly long cave full of zubats etc. But at least there were stakes. Pokémon GO feels pointless.  Plus the stupid game kept crashing just when I was going to catch a Pocket Monster, which was incredibly frustrating. Maybe that’s why I didn’t like it actually.

I give this game an overall rating of 3 out of 10 and look forward to deleting it from my phone.

There’s another completely unexpected installment of Joseph’s relationship with Pokémon GO; did 48 hours of cyber-bullying change his mind?

Keep going!