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Katherine is the Managing Editor at The Hudsucker. She has been working in libraries for the past 10 years and holds a B.A. in American Studies & Ethnicity from the University of Southern California. In her free time, the Seattleite enjoys writing fiction, going to brunch, taking long walks with her roommate, and playing Dungeons & Dragons with her friends. Katherine is a huge fan of the Seattle Mariners and has probably seen every Marvel movie at least five times. She loves classic rock and can quote even the most obscure lines from The Simpsons. Follow Katherine on Twitter: @thethingiskat.

Gotta Catch ‘Em All: 5 Reasons Why You Should Still Play Pokémon Go

Image Credit: Niantic, Inc.

One year ago today, Pokémon Go was released as an app for mobile phones and became an instant hit. Though there were complaints about the functionality and navigation of the app, all summer long people walked around their respective cities trying to catch as many Pokémon as possible. There were a lot of benefits to playing, including meeting new people and becoming more physically active through playing the game. When summer turned into fall, less people continued to play the game and the app saw few innovations and improvements to keep players interested. However, for the core group who continued playing, their dedication and persistence paid off with new features and settings finally being added. Despite its somewhat rough yet intensely popular start, the game has improved over time, and now one year later, Pokémon Go is a game everyone should still be playing.

Image Credit: Niantic, Inc.

New Pokémon

In February the game expanded to include Generation 2 Pokémon in addition to the 151 from the first Generation. With that expansion came new evolutions for some Pokémon that already existed in the game, some of which needed to be completed by finding special items at PokéStops. While at first the Gen 2 Pokémon primarily populated the game, sometimes frustratingly so, over time they seamlessly mixed in with the rest of the Pokémon and added more diversity to the game. For those who had already caught most of the Gen 1 characters, the addition of Gen 2 Pokémon expanded game play and added a new challenge for those trying to “catch ’em all.”

New Items

With the Generation 2 expansion came new items in addition to new Pokémon. New berries, Nanab Berry and Pinap Berry, were added to assist in capturing Pokémon, and new specialty evolution items were added as well. Dragon Scale, King’s Rock, Sun Stone, Metal Coat, and Up-Grade could be obtained at PokéStops and used in conjunction with candy to evolve certain types of Pokémon. New clothing options were also added with that and subsequent updates, including a very popular Magikarp hat. The most recent update to the app added more items, including raid passes, and new berries and other upgrades that can only be accessed by participating in raids.

Streak Bonuses

Streak bonuses were introduced last November, and they reward players for catching Pokémon and visiting PokéStops daily. Players earn extra XP and Stardust for their first catch of each day, and if they catch a Pokémon for 7 days in a row, they get an extra 2500 XP and an extra 3000 Stardust. Each day that a player visits a PokéStop, they get extra XP and extra items. On the 7th day, they get 2500 XP and even more extra items, including at least one specialty evolution item. Catching Pokémon and visiting PokéStops used to be the same every time, but now with streak bonuses there is extra incentive to open the app everyday.

Special Events

Pokémon Go has been hosting “special events” from time to time with rewards for participating including everything from extra XP to more chances to catch rare Pokémon. Past events have included limited edition characters, such as a chance to catch a Pikachu wearing a Santa hat back in December and one wearing a party hat in celebration of Pokémon Day in February. They also semi-frequently have events where you’re more likely to encounter certain types of Pokémon. In October for Halloween ghost-type Pokémon were in abundance, and to mark the Solstice in June they had a fire- and ice-type Pokémon event. These official events are great for catching Pokémon that aren’t normally found in your area and are known to attract more rare Pokémon. Pokémon Go has been hosting these events more frequently, and with the official one year anniversary of Pokémon Go on July 6, there’s bound to be a special event based around that too.

Image Credit: Niantic, Inc.

App Updates

While it wasn’t until February 2017 that Pokémon Go underwent its first major update, new features have been added fairly steadily since last fall. One of the main complaints about the app was the navigation issues, and those had slowly improved, finally evolving into the current system, which seems to have few complaints. Aside from the new items and special events, the gyms recently underwent a significant update, which now allows for raids and more turnover, while also converting them into traditional PokéStops as well. Though it was slow going at first, all the updates and introductions of new features have generally been well-received and have made playing the game much more fun and exciting.

When summer 2016 turned to fall, it was only natural that people started drifting away from Pokémon Go. From app issues, new games, and the changing of the seasons, there seemed to be less and less reason to pick up the game everyday. But for those that stayed with it or picked it up again later, there were a lot of fun updates and events to get involved with. While Pokémon Go isn’t a perfect game, in honor of its one year anniversary, it’s definitely worth picking up again and trying once again to catch ’em all.

Do you still play Pokémon Go? What’s been your favorite new feature or special event? Let us know in the comments!

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