Counting Steps: Pokemon Go!

General info:

Official websiteWikipedia entry

  • Developed by: Niantic
  • Published by: Nintendo, Pokémon Company
  • Original release date: July 6th, 2016
  • Platforms: Android, iOS
  • Written in Unity

I was late to the game with Pokemon. My generation was in elementary school at the height of the Pokemon craze. From what I hear, it was a grand ole time. Due to some satanic-panic logic (that remains unclear to me) Pokemon was forbidden in my house, growing up.

In fact, that was the reason behind most prohibited activities of my childhood. No Casper. No Power Rangers. No Pokemon. All of that exclusion kept me away from the cool kids’ table. Nobody deserves to be bullied, but looking back, I wasn’t any of the things you usually see in kids that get picked on. Not being an obvious target wound up hurting me in the long run. “How could you get picked on? You’re the biggest kid in class!” I was. Eventually, I had to figure out how to get with it or get left in the dust. 

Not only was it banned at home, most of the disciplinary action I witnessed in grade school revolved around punishing kids for bringing Pokemon cards to school. That prohibition was my “in.” After confiscating a large quantity of Pokemon cards, teachers carelessly tossed the collection in one pile onto the floor. 

Predictably, there were dogpiles. Whatever lay on the floor was up for grabs. I was left out of the conversation, but I certainly overheard them. What 9 years old could resist the opportunity to brag about their 1st edition Charizard? Or their holographic Pikachu? The kids making fun of me gave away exactly which cards I should steal from them. With everyone’s eyes on the prize, nobody noticed the only kid in class who couldn’t play Pokemon joining the ambush. On a few occasions, I’d crawl out with quite the score. 

My brothers obtained their own collections over time. Only, they would get caught. Every time one brother was busted, I’d overhear my parents threaten to search every bag in the house. While they sniffed for clues, I’d ditch my cards among the discarded contraband in the kitchen garbage to save my skin. In the end, every heist proved fruitless. My name’s Eric Fellner, and I stole my friend’s and classmates’ cherished Pokemon cards so I could throw them in the trash.

July 2016. Imagine my surprise the day Pokemon Go comes out, and my mom has it downloaded on her phone. After all that effort! After years of enforcement! 

Possibly the allure of augmented reality swayed my mother’s feelings on the matter? Maybe she admitted to herself the ban never had any rationale to start with? Whatever occurred, Pokemon Go was my first game in the series at the age of 23. 

It was a good summer to start! I had returned from a month-long stay in Brooklyn, which was honestly the time of my life. I had booked my first show for my return to North Carolina. A month of walking around the city got me into great shape. To my knowledge, the relationship I was in was going well. July 2016 was starting off as the peak of my “Jordan-year.”

Additionally, the whole world seemed united in (at least novel) interest in this game. And I could finally buy-in! My co-workers at Starbucks would dip into the parking lot catching Pokemon while they took drive-through orders. All hours of the night, pods of kids and adults alike crowded what was suddenly considered “landmarks.” In search of resources. Battling over gyms. Trying to “catch ‘em all.” You’re familiar with the game.

Counting on!

Personally, I loved using the game as a pedometer! It kept me in great shape. Endlessly running through the neighborhood and shopping centers felt as true to the core gameplay loop of Pokemon as you can get. Only, there was slightly less animal violence.

Then, July came to a close. One night, I stopped in late to see my grandfather who lived in town, Popop. We had open plans to visit a 24-hour bakery in Charlotte called Amelie’s. Unfortunately, he passed in his sleep sometime before I arrived. 

Between that night and the funeral, the girl I had been seeing ended things over text. The next week, I played that show I had booked while I was in New York. Due to similar circumstances in the other bandmates’ lives, the band immediately disbanded. 

After a month of riding high, things crashed spectacularly. My enthusiasm for Pokemon Go died amid the chaos and depression of the time. I didn’t feel like running. I didn’t want to see people out, people together. It’s no exaggeration that week in August took years to recover from. Not just emotionally. Regaining the sense of momentum I felt that summer took time. Pokemon Go forever resides in my memory as the pop-culture phenomenon that coincides with that period of my life.

February 2020. After a couple rough years, I was quitting the worst job of my life (thanks for nothing, Target) to teach guitar full-time. Playing music, for a living. Then, wouldn’t you know it? COVID-19 struck! 

Boy did it. And the job I just went all-in on was at high risk of being yanked from under me. Reflecting now, I wonder if the sink or swim of the moment shocked me into a state of flow. One day, my boss and I devised a plan to transition the entire studio to a remote format. The next day, the admin team and teachers were executing that plan. We were infinitely fortunate. We never missed a single day of lessons.

My girlfriend lived two hours away in Raleigh, and we decided to lock down together while I could work remotely. Despite having some work, I still had a considerable amount of free time. We were 5 miles from Moore Park, the center of downtown Raleigh, with everything in the city closed. As that normal set in, I found myself running across Raleigh playing Pokemon Go. Me and my Snorlax, Popop.

Normal is hopefully starting to shift yet again, and I continue to log (slightly fewer) kilometers in Pokemon Go. I’m no longer interested in Pokemon to get along with classmates, and if tragedy strikes, I’m a little better prepared. Pokemon Go is more of a glorified pedometer more than augmented reality, but my fondness for it still runs deep.

This piece is part of a larger collaboration, Pokemon: Creator’s Catch. Click here to check out all the work by other great writers and artists!

My favorite gaming music #15: Music for a trip

image_1.jpgLink to more articles like these

So, next week I will be out of town. I will also be in a long car trip. That means, I have need a couple of good music tracks to listen to while on the road. So, let’s take a look at some video game music I love listening to or has some emotional value to them. For the people who have read previous entries in this series, what I’m going to say next is nothing new… But in these articles, I only talk about the original tracks. No remixes, unless it’s used in game. Also, one song per game. (I can write about the same game but it needs to be in another article.) I also link to the music each and every time and if I have written an article about it, I link that as well. In any case, let’s go! Let’s get the music pumping! Also, feel free to leave me a comment with your opinion on the content of this article and/or the music I choose. 

Evoland II (PC) ~ Into The Forest

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So, in the past I actually started a let’s play of this game. I never really finished that let’s play since I got burned out on YouTube and I wanted to focus on my writing.

Rather recently, a friend of mine pointed out that a sequel was published. I didn’t even notice it. So, when I had the money to buy it, I bought it and started playing it. I don’t regret it at all. It’s a very good game but it’s a totally different experience then the original game.

This song is a song you hear very early in the game. The melody really sets me in the mood to explore the first area with monsters, the forest. It sets up the lighthearted atmosphere of the start of this game really well.

While I haven’t finished the game yet, I’m looking forward to what the game has waiting for me. This game shows great promise to me and I’m quite sure it won’t disappoint.

Hyrule Warriors (Wii U) ~ Hyrule Field Theme 1

WiiU_HyruleWarriors_Boxart

Link to the first impression article

So, this game is one of the best games I have played in 2015. This Zelda spin-off didn’t disappoint at all. I’m also looking forward to the 3DS sequel which is coming out really soon.

If you read my blog often, you might know already that I’m a big fan of The Legend Of Zelda series. Since it’s in my eyes one of the best adventure games out there.

Various music tracks have a big emotional value to me. And when I heard this remix of the Hyrule Field theme in the game, I was hooked. It does it’s job perfect. It gets the player ready for action, ready for the war you are going to fight!

This track was my ringtone for a few months, I like it that much. If you liked this tune, really give the whole soundtrack a listen, it’s totally worth it, just like the game!

Europa Universalis IV (PC) ~ A Lifetime of War

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Link to my first impression article

This game is a close second for my top 10 games I played of 2015. I never thought I would play a game like this and actually enjoy my time in it. My best memories in this game are my sessions with my best friend Mizari. When I thought we were playing for just 1 or 2 hours, we actually played for 5 to 6 hours.

While this song won’t play in the vanilla build of the game, this song is one of the DLC songs you can buy. It’s from the Sabaton Soundtrack. The music of this DLC is really worth epic and 5 masterpieces like this for 3€? It’s a steal! Seriously, if you like what you hear with this song, go and buy the DLC.

I have no words for the greatness of this song. And when I started to play in-game… I actually start to sing along with some of the lyrics. Yeah.

Suikoden Tierkreis (DS) ~ Archivist Battle Theme

suikoden_tierkreis

First Impression article

This game, well it’s one of my favorite handheld RPG’s ever made. Last year, I replayed a part of this game and still found new content.

Apart from a big difficulty spike at the end and the bad voice acting, I think that this game is perfect. I love the story, atmosphere, visual presentation and the sound track. After I nearly finished it, I added this soundtrack to my music library. And now it a track plays from time to time. I rarely ever skip a track from this game.

This game introduced me to the Suikoden series. A game series I’m actually looking out for to get me a copy of the original PS1 series. Since I heard so much praise for this game I really want to see what it’s about.

Also, Konami if you are listening. Get this game over to Europe and/or announce a new entry in this series. If they are as amazing as this game, this is something I’m willing to buy!

Bravely Default (3DS) ~ That Person’s Name Is (Asterisk Boss Battle Theme)

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Link to my first impression article

So, the sequel of this game is coming out in a month, Bravely Second. This means, that’s it’s time to take a quick look back at the original game. This game has a pretty unique concept and is another RPG that ranks pretty high on my favorite games list.

RPG’s are one of my favorite handheld game genres and this game didn’t disappoint. What I mostly remember of this game, apart from the story and gameplay, is the soundtrack. I only chose one track as an example, but this soundtrack has many more amazing pieces of music that sets the mood very well.

I can’t wait to play the sequel to this game. I have to admit that I haven’t finished the original game yet, due to me having to grind… Which is a thing that I don’t really like. But what will be even more difficult is the fact that another RPG, Pokemon Mystery Dungeon releases around the same time here… Ugh, this will be a hard one. I have to be Brave…

Wrapping up

Alright, I have talked about 5 of my favorite music tracks. Maybe I could have chosen the name of this series better, since “my favorite” … well, it almost sounds like a sort of top 10; the title doesn’t really click with me anymore. But hey, I have written 15 articles of these. So, it’s kinda pointless in my eyes to change the title of this series now.

In any case, I hope you enjoyed this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. If you have soundtracks or songs you really love, leave them in the comments. I love listing to game music. I’m looking forward to it! Anyways, I hope to be able to welcome you in another article but until then, take care and have a great rest of your day!