“Everyone should download Pokémon Go again,” my coworker Russ Frushtick told me back in June. It seemed like such an innocent comment at the time. Most of the Polygon team was gathering in New York City, and our proximity meant we could do raids and trades together.
Why not? A few times I’d noticed Russ left his phone unlocked on his desk with Pokémon Go running. The GPS drift in downtown Manhattan meant that he was getting steps in and hatching eggs without actually walking. I made fun of him a lot.
I don’t make fun of Russ anymore.
Now I’m part of an elite and desperately sad cabal of Pokémon Go players here at Polygon. I’ve become hooked on the game’s systems. My Polygon Show cohost Chelsea Stark described it as “a checklist of a game,” and she’s right. And I love checklists. I like the slow grind of catching Pokémon, stocking up on candies, assessing which creatures are worth evolving, and tossing the rejects in the candy bin. I love stacking quests and building friendships so that I can crack a lucky egg (earn double XP for 30 minutes), and set off a cascade of achievements that will net me hundreds of thousands of XP.
I made a video about it, and that was hard because the game isn’t exactly visually compelling. But I did my best to describe the absolute, nonsensical, out-of-body madness that has gripped me when it comes to Pokémon Go. Yes, I’m addicted to it and talking about it makes me sound like I’m recruiting for a cult. On the other hand, it’s soothing and methodical and it’s gotten me out of the house this summer.
It’s been updated considerably since its 2016 release. If you’re looking for “full-feature Pokémon game but on my phone,” you’ll probably still be disappointed. But if you are looking for inventory management and the platonic ideal of min-maxing, kids, I’ve got the game for you.
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