Where did Poke­mon Go ?

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page -

CROWDS that once stood in front of Ma­ha­ban­doola Park have dis­persed. The park­ing lot in front of City Hall no longer teems with hordes of teenagers staring at their phones. Yes­ter­day, in front of Sh­wedagon Pagoda’s east gate, no­body wan­dered in and out of traf­fic with their noses in an aug­mented re­al­ity. It leads one to won­der: what the Psy­duck is go­ing on? Just two months af­ter the Thai­land launch of Poke­mon Go be­gan leak­ing over in­ter­na­tional bor­ders and into Myan­mar app stores, the once fever­ishly popular smart­phone game has al­most dis­ap­peared from the pop zeit­geist. In Au­gust, peo­ple couldn’t get enough of the game that let them “catch” lit­tle Squir­tles in the bushes by the Sec­re­tariat. Now, in Oc­to­ber, it seems that even Ash Ketchum couldn’t be both­ered to catch any of them – let alone “’em all”.

What gives?

The Myan­mar Times caught up with 27-year-old model Myint Myat Thaw­dar, who started off as an ar­dent fan be­fore drifting away from the game about a month ago.

“I quit play­ing be­cause it isn’t in­ter­est­ing any­more,” she said, adding that it af­fected her work when she stayed up too late play­ing at night. “I also al­most got in a car ac­ci­dent while play­ing, so I de­cided to stop.”

Seems as good a rea­son as any, es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing that bill­boards ad­vis­ing play­ers to ab­stain from the game while driv­ing have popped up in high-pro­file lo­ca­tions, such as Sule Pagoda Road near the Bo­gyoke train sta­tion.

For Hnin Oo May, who also played the game avidly be­fore quit­ting, dan­gers while driv­ing also played a fac­tor in her de­ci­sion. She said that her only free time tended to come while driv­ing, which led to risky be­hav­iour. More than dan­ger, how­ever, it was the game’s sheer un­sus­tain­abil­ity that turned her off.

“It drained all my bat­tery and my phone died in the mid­dle of the road,” she said. “That ob­vi­ously af­fected my abil­ity to work.”

The game also seemed to grow bor­ing, as peo­ple con­tin­ued to col­lect the al­go­rith­mi­cally spawned crea­tures with no real ob­jec­tive. Poke­mon

Go be­came scarcely dif­fer­ent than a never-end­ing scavenger hunt, with no puzzle to be solved or ob­jec­tive to be reached.

“I played it since the day it be­came avail­able in Myan­mar, but now I haven’t played for three weeks,” said Ko Thaw Zin, a 29-year-old sys­tem en­gi­neer. “I felt bored of the game. The up­dates didn’t add much. I will waiti til next year for the gen­er­a­tion two up­date.”

The gen­er­a­tion two up­date will re­port­edly en­able gamers to have aug­mented-re­al­ity “bat­tles” be­tween their Poke­mon with friends and strangers. But Nin­tendo has yet to an­nounce a re­lease date, and for now, it looks like Poke­mon Go will re­main more-or-less un­changed un­til the new ver­sion ar­rives. That’s just fine with play­ers such as Ko Thet Oo, who The Myan­mar

Times iden­ti­fied as one of the few fans still play­ing. He said, proudly, that he has col­lected all but three of the Poke­mon types avail­able in Myan­mar. A level 30 hunter, he’s not plan­ning to stop any time soon.

“I like the game, and I’m still ex­cited to play it even if others have stopped play­ing it,” said the 28-year-old graphic de­signer. “I want to be a strong Poke­mon mas­ter when they re­lease the new ver­sion – then I can be a fighter.”

Ko Thet Oo added that those who quit likely gave up be­cause of the ef­fort in­volved: Part of the game, af­ter all, was the “go”.

“Some peo­ple who lived far away from PokeS­tops don’t want to go out when they run out of PokeBalls. Maybe they felt bored when they couldn’t catch Poke­mon at home, so they quit,” he said.

Whether the Poke­mon feel ne­glected or lib­er­ated by their sudden un­pop­u­lar­ity is un­clear. Pikachu could not be reached for com­ment, and re­ports of a for­lorn Jig­gly Puff near St Mary’s Cathe­dral could not be con­firmed at press time.

Photo: Nyan Zay Htet

One of Yan­gon’s last re­main­ing Poke­mon Go play­ers sits in soli­tude at Ma­ha­ban­doola Park.

What was once an avid com­mu­nity of fans has dwin­dled to a few re­main­ing strag­glers and their vir­tual pets.

It ap­pears that the mas­sive pop­u­lar­ity of Poke­mon Go was more ef­fer­ves­cent than eter­nal. Some play­ers say they are wait­ing for a new re­lease of the game that will add more in­ter­est­ing fea­tures.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Myanmar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.