The Pokémon Generation


Amanda Sparshott

In Pokémon Go, pokémon trainers can accrue eggs as gifts from friends or from spinning Pokéstops. Using an incubator, an in-game item, trainers walk a required amount of kilometers, tracked by their portable device’s gps, to hatch them. This little pokémon is a Togepi.

Pokémon has captured the hearts of many across a plethora of media platforms.  While the video games have many fans, this particular app has the accessibility and passive applications that have helped to reach across the barriers from millennials to seasoned adults. This has never been more evident than on the Montgomery College campus as teachers and students alike battle to capture Pokémon characters, to win space in the gyms where Pokémon train, and for a chance to be, in the famous lyrics of the iconic show, “the very best!”

Groups of trainers meet at virtual gyms in Pokémon Go for raids to take on strong Pokémon like Mewtwo. The number of faces above the pokémon is a difficulty rating that indicates how many people are needed to beat the raid pokémon.

It was during a raid on campus that Victoria Virador, an instructor, and Ryan Mitchell, a student and Silver Spring native, worked together with other students to take down a boss for the chance at catching one of the legendary birds in the game. Raids are battles against Pokémon with large amounts of health at virtual gyms associated with GPS locations across the world. Each raid indicates its strength and recommended players by the number of faces above the Pokémon within the gym.

According to Virador, Pokémon Go is her first Pokémon experience and this is not the first time the game has crossed the generational barrier. She hangs out with her kids and enjoys catching raids and participating in the community days. Community days are special, themed events that take place for short periods. “It makes me go out and walk,” says Virador. “I have met very interesting people.”

Mitchell was one of those people. He fell in love with the game a couple years ago after playing Pokémon Blue with a Gameboy emulator. “I had been a spectator of the series for some time so actually playing was something entirely different,” said Mitchell. “I remember when the game first came out… the crowds of people were intense. It was beautiful in how excited everyone was to catch them all.”

While some fell in love with  Pokémon recently, like Mitchell, others have grown up with it. Kira Than, a second-year student at MC and Rockville native, found one of her parents’ Game Boy Color and played Pokémon Yellow, one of the earliest games.
She started playing Pokémon Go as soon as it was released and enjoys the way the game lets you be a Pokémon trainer without following a storyline. “My favorite part about the interactions is the friendships and bonds I make. I ended up working with some other people on campus to take part in a couple of raids,” said Than. “This game, being a very popular one, is something that brought everybody with a common interest together.”

Some students on campus have even strengthened their existing relationships. Raquel Revelo, an 18-year-old, first-year college student and Silver Spring native, says it helped to build a relationship with her little brother. “We’ve always fought,” said Revelo. “I had been playing Pokémon Go since its release. A few months later I saw that Javier, my brother, was also playing… after a while, we would be going on walks to hatch eggs or to conquer a gym.”

While video games cause a sense of alienation at times, there is a social component to Pokémon Go that sets it apart. Making friends within the app is beneficial because players gain the ability to send gifts. Raids provide incentives for masses of players to come together to defeat and capture creatures that have lived in the fantasy world for ages.

It has given the older generation a way to connect and socialize with a more youthful audience despite their age difference. It has built bridges where there were flaming gates. Students on campus have grown within this game and developed a community that assists in making every player their very best.