Pokemon Go Tour: Kanto event misses golden opportunity

The event of Pokemon Go celebrating Pokemon with Pokemon GO Tour: Kanto occurred over the weekend, but could the event pushed the boundaries for doing more?

With the events of Pokemon Go celebrating Pokemon’s anniversary in their own way, the celebration in other forms of the franchise are off and running during Pokemon Week. Some fans can even argue that the Pokemon Go Tour: Kanto event was the initial kickoff for the week to start the celebration. The event was an homage to the original games released with Pokemon Red and Green Versions from 1996 and included special challenges for trainers to accomplish. The event also put Pokemon from the Kanto region in the spotlight as the major species available so that trainers from all over can have that vintage feel. However, to the point on how much Pokemon Go has made in strides connecting the app to the major core series, why didn’t Niantic take advantage of adding more variety in Pokemon for the sake of more Pokemon fans? Surely, the concept was to remain strict to the book with the original games, but it could be assumed that Niantic could have pushed the limits a little bit.

From the honest opinion, this take is from the fan’s perspective entirely. The major point of the event is limiting the Pokemon from Kanto to the strict 151 species from the original series. It is completely understandable that this was a Kanto-focused event, but it is not like players who have been dedicated to Pokemon Go since its original release would just use Kanto Pokemon. For active players of Pokemon Go, Pokemon who have been designed for the app from all Pokemon regions were still allowed to be wielded by trainers during the event. This includes the concept of using Pokemon from any region against the trainers that were at PokeStops to battle that was using strictly Kanto Pokemon. With the series becoming more and more advanced through the franchise history, Pokemon from more recent generations would be no match for the original 151 Pokemon. Even inserting the idea that only Kanto Pokemon would be allowed to use for trainers seemed unlikely to limit every single user on the application.

Pokemon GO Remote Raid key art. Image Courtesy Pokemon GO

Carrying on from this topic, it would almost seem reasonable if the event was more flexible with the Pokemon available like if it was the limits used in the Let’s Go series. The games that were specifically designed to reflect the same model that was popularized from the app were synchronized with generation seven and were the first Pokemon games that graced the Nintendo Switch. The clarification of being on par with generation seven is that the game was in fact another remake of the Kanto play-through; included Pokemon from the Alolan region that shared the same species. With only two years removed of the Let’s Go series release, why was this concept not given the “green light” as far inclusion for the event? Wielding Alolan Pokemon that had Kanto counterparts were completely allowed in the Let’s Go series, but for a “Kanto only” driven event, it seemed a little biased to not include something that shared a little bit of familiarity.

Additionally, to include in these arguments, Galarian Pokemon also share some species that are found in the Kanto region. In recent updates for Pokemon Go, there have been introductions including Galarian forms of Meowth, Ponyta, Farfetch’d, Weezing, and Mr. Mime; this also included special evolutions of these Pokemon respectively. It almost feels like that this Kanto event missed the window to include even more of these forms that share the species from the same region. Slowpoke and Slowbro being the primary examples of this matter because they have been the only Galarian Pokemon that have yet to be featured on Pokemon Go where almost every other Galarian form has been introduced. Not to mention a prior event where this window of opportunity was missed, but Pokemon Go kicked off the year 2021 by featuring Slowpoke in the spotlight. With a critical year as big as the 25th anniversary, it is almost like Galarain Slowpoke and the evolutionary line was given the “cold shoulder.”

There are even further matters that bring up the Galarian forms of Pokemon that are in this context. The biggest revolutionary step that Pokemon took was including a DLC to Pokemon Sword and Shield that included new Pokemon, especially new forms of prior Pokemon. Where this case is made, is that there have been new forms of the Legendary Bird Trio that were included in the series of the Crown Tundra specifically. The original Kanto forms of the Legendary Birds were featured in five-star raids during the hours of the event being held. One can even ask: why were the Galarian forms not included? Where the developers on both sides of Game Freak and Niantic, the product to have both the DLC and the event were viewed in a “pay to play” concept. To drive this point even further, not everyone bought the DLC for Pokemon Sword and Shield, and some do not even own a copy, nor a Nintendo Switch. Where Galarian forms are already being experienced on Pokemon Go, why were the Galarian Forms of the Legendary Bird Trio not made available yet? Some can even argue that this is unfair to most trainers.

The POGO Kanto event failed to deliver Galarian Legendary Birds for their event. Image Courtesy The Pokémon Company International, Nintendo

There are even more points that can be included in this matter. There are extra evolutions of Pokemon that were not available during the hours of the event, for they were not available during the original release of Pokemon Red and Green Version. For example, there were not baby Pokemon available that was introduced in generation two like Pichu and Igglybuff, two first stages of Pokemon that are popular enough from the first generation games with Pikachu and Jigglypuff respectively. There was no concept of other evolutions like Tangrowth or Rhyperior, Pokemon that were introduced in generation four to further the evolution line of Pokemon that were part of the original 151 species. This concept shares its major similarities like in the Let’s Go series, where some of these Pokemon were not available and tried to treat the game as close to the original games possible. Still, they are incomplete concepts that were not included which leaves some Pokemon fans disappointed rather than fulfilled.

In the results of the Pokemon Go Tour: Kanto event, it was a major event to commemorate the twenty-fifth anniversary of Pokemon in the best fashion possible. It was understandable to the point of Niantic to keep the vintage feel of the original Pokemon games. Even more so with laying a strict concept of limiting it to the original 151 species of Pokemon. Still, as far as pioneers as Niantic has been it would have made the circumstances of the event more interesting. Even more so to the point, including as many Pokemon as possible would fulfill more satisfaction with fans from all dimensions, including the ones who have just been introduced to Pokemon via Pokemon Sword and Shield. There are more elements of the Pokemon franchise that are rewarding for the fans, and they should be celebrated to the maximum potential; even if they stuck around for at least 25 years.