For a moment, I ask you to take a deep breath and reflect on the unsolved mysteries of the games industry. Where is Half Life 3? Who is Wario, really? Why won’t Pokémon Go’s developers actually add the features the game so desperately needs?
Okay, it is a little maddening. In the last day, all four of YouTube’s major Pokémon Go channels have complained that the game’s lack of content could mean the end of their channels. And Pokémon Go’s new, cutesy Valentine’s Day event isn’t adding much fuel to the mobile game’s already plucked-out fire.
Today, Pokémon Go is “spreading the love” with its new and transcendentally uninspired event: “Players will receive double the amount of Candy when catching, hatching and transferring Pokémon, while Buddy Pokémon will find Candy twice as fast for their Trainers.” Oh, goodie! A new update that isn’t the addition of trading or full second generation Pokémon. It’s also not any of the things trainers have been asking for since its July release, like a working tracker or a more developed gym system or a PvP mode. And, not one Pokémon is getting a hat!
Also, pink Pokémon like Chansey, Clefable and Porygon (who is not even that pink) will have increased spawn rates during the event. Lures will work for six hours instead of thirty minutes because hearts and glitter and love, a feeling this game hasn’t inspired in me since its Summer, 2016 wave of mind-control.
Honestly, at this point, each piece of news from this game is increasingly disappointing. Pokémon Go, you are a mystery. With each broken tracker, each server issue, each half-assed introduction of new content or corporate sponsorships or some insipid event, I wonder, how does a viral, free-to-play, nostalgia bank of a game continue to miss the mark so dramatically? We were all here for it, but it wasn’t, and apparently still isn’t, here for us.
I’d love a resurgence in this game’s popularity. Summer 2016 brought random, joyous encounters with strangers and a newfound awareness of my childhood and New York neighborhoods. I finally shared a video game with my non-gaming friends. It was really special. Why, then, aren’t we getting the sort of features and events that could truly reinvigorate it—or at least sate its frustrated player base?