2016 Gaming Awards – Nostalgia of the Year – Pokemon GO
Every year, there will inevitably be the unanimous “song of the summer,” complemented with a few huge blockbuster movies. Gaming, however, usually takes a step back in summer. Kids are off at camp while adults and students are working/vacationing, making purchasing decisions few and far between.
However, it’s fair to say that if there was a 2016 game of the summer, Pokemon GO would be the overwhelming choice.
I saw people in their 50’s, standing in the middle of a public square, flicking their phone back to front just to collect Pokeballs. For weeks on end, I would overhear dozens of conversations about where to catch the best Pokemon, where the closest bunch of gyms are, which route to take to refill on the items you need.
My grandmother, who knows absolutely nothing about video games, asked me why people are walking into traffic over “a stupid phone game.” People were talking about Pokemon like it was the 90’s all over again. On a meta-content note, pretty much every games site during the summer (including our own) was floated by Pokemon GO stories, as it was pretty much what everyone was talking about.
Why is Pokemon GO our Nostalgia of the Year? Because those rose-tinted glasses that illuminated the real-world hunt to catch them all hid the glaring gameplay holes. Broken servers, repetitive gameplay, shallow Pokemon pools, and the removal of basic gameplay features ultimately left Pokemon GO in a worse place than it started.
Niantic still has time to install trainer duels in time for next summer. Even without it, allowing players to try to be the very best (like no one ever was) fueled Pokemon GO like no other.
Runner-up: NES Classic Edition, NES + 30 classic games. Would win if people could actually buy one.