How the Hell are People Still Playing Pokémon GO in 2019?

As more of us find ourselves embracing summer fun you may find yourself stumbling upon small gangs of roving nerds and wonder; "Is Pokémon GO still a thing?" And as Pokémon GO has it's third birthday this week I'm here to enthusiastically tell you, "Yes!"

So like many of you I picked up my phone during the summer of peace excited to set out on my adventure of catching, battling and training my poképals and often found myself stumped what there even was to do after trying (and obviously failing) to catch the OG 150. That phone came and went and I never bothered reinstalling the app again until a friend reintegrated PoGO into my life a couple years later and I've never ONCE contemplated an uninstall, and find myself wondering what else The Pokémon Company will come up with next!

Now let's get to it! How Pokémon GO has grown real claws to sink into trainers, and how it's super effective!

You don't even need to have the app running anymore.

Originally the most daunting task in PoGO was hatching those dastardly eggs. I remember avalanches of footage and memes on the best methods to keep your phone moving so you didn't have to. Launching PoGO and fastening one's phone to a pet, ceiling fan, or a metronome like robo arm were all reasonable attempts to get out of those daunting treks. Thankfully long after a few microwave rotation phone casualties Niantic gave us Adventure Sync which means everywhere you go with your phone is a Pokémon GO! And if catching pokémon and spinning stops in the background is what you're after the ever so handy bluetooth device the Pokéball Plus is just the tool for you, through coloured lights and a series of vibration combinations it communicates everything you need to know on the go while freeing your backpack of those cumbersome pokéballs.

There's new objectives and quests available at every pokéstop.

Never be found sitting on your thumbs again while Professor Willow needs his field research fulfilled! Whether it's a special set of tasks with a special pokémon to catch after achieving great things, or just a minor objective involving the catching of specific pokémon there is really never a moment this game isn't giving you a new challenge and rewards. As we prepare celebrate Pokémon GO's third birthday they've already provided us with a whole new set of goals to achieve that involves making friends, conquering raids and more, and what awaits every trainer committed enough to get it all done is an adorably shiny Eevee!

Gyms are actually profitable now!

Now it would be an understantement to say I found gyms exhausting, it's hard enough to get out of bed and into the world, especially for long walks. So when I had to go out, stack gym victories, hopefully remember to claim my daily gym bonus and then give up on them for the next 24 hours, I was seriously discouraged from the coin grind. Now it's a coin every five minutes in a gym that caps at fifty so gagging on the idea of spending coins on cosmetic items and extra space is a thing of the past!

THERE'S RAIDS

So we just talked gyms right? They're a place for teamwork too now! Throughout the day a mysterious giant egg will materialize with a rating of 1 to 5 above a randomly selected gym with a lovely timer telling you to grab your friends and bust ass over there so the real fun begins. Once the pink (normal), yellow (rare), or blue (legendary) egg's all hatched you get to set your best team to attack and help them headbutt that sucker into a bonus catch sequence and pray you don't run out of premier balls before it flees!

They let you have friends... with benefits!

Not only can you send presents back and forth while grinding through the four levels of friendship Good, Great, Ultra, and Best, you can trade and battle increasingly powerful pokémon in person. Eventually you can even battle your strongest and shiniest pokémon from anywhere in the world with wifi, and when you get into raids together it's just extra shots at those sweet sweet legendaries.

Apps can track your pokémon's perfection level with Poke Genie.

If you're like me statistical data makes you giddy and when it comes to pokémon it is an utter goldmine of stats hidden behind the adorable little sprites, be it through breeding, shiny rates, or battle, and sadly much of this is necessarily stripped from Pokémon GO's gameplay. Fret not! With apps like Poke Genie this is an issue no longer. With a single screenshot of your chosen pokémon this magic app tells you just how statistically perfect your favourites are, or not so favourites once you've seen what they appraise for...

There's even more fun to be had in Pokémon: Let's Go!

Now I'm not saying anyone should run out and buy a console just to enjoy a free smartphone app BUT if you do have a Nintendo Switch and have ANY love for Pokémon then get yourself Nintendogs Pickachu/Eevee ASAP. Being able to transfer Pokémon from Pokémon GO to the in game park in Fuschia City makes shiny hunting your favourites a dream. The ability to get the Meltan box by transferring unwanted pokémon to the Switch is tough to beat, and the Pokéball Plus works for most of your Pokémon GO and Let's Go needs!

There's soooooooo many more pokémon to come.

With 3 whole generations yet to be added and Pokémon Sword and Shield just over the horizon we can truly some day be anticipating well over 800 monsters in our pockets without the need to lug massive binders about in pants of epic proportions! I really can't wait to see what pops up on my pokéwalks these days, even if it's some garbage tier Swinub or Rattata I am more than happy clicking away on my vibrating pokéball.

I've never been able to have a phone game keep my interest for a month, let alone a year, and I truly appreciate how much distance I've gotten out of a little free pedometer that let's me be the very best. As July 6 rapidly approaches I wish you all safe hunting and I hope you're looking forward to seeing what more comes of this amazing community in the years to come as much as I have since 1998.