Pokémon Go Isn't The Same Without Friends

There are a few things I enjoy doing completely alone. Reading, writing, watching Youtube, manically cackling at memes, as fun as they are, are meant to be solitary pursuits. As far as games go, I prefer to play with a friend or two. Whether I'm beating them down in Smash or have them along for nonsensical commentary while playing some random game we found on Steam, the more the merrier. With this desire for social interaction, I would probably do well as a streamer– if it weren't for my crippling anxiety.

So I was genuinely disappointed when I learned that many of my gamer friends didn't even bother to get into Pokémon Go. As a hardcore Pokémon fanatic, I felt obligated to at least try the game out. I'm surprised that curiosity didn't compel them to do the same.

Thus, I've been playing Go alone for the past three years, hesitant to approach strangers and ask them to join their parties. While the experience has been fun, Pokémon Go is a game that is meant to be enjoyed with others rather than alone.

Related: Galarian Ponyta Confirmed, Will Be Exclusive To Pokémon Shield

Pokémon Go Emphasizes Community

The core message of Go is to, well, go. As in going outside and engaging in the external world. Unless you're spoofing the game from the comfort of your home, you need to get up and physically move to make any strides in the game. Inevitably, you're going to run into other people who are playing the game, maybe at the park or on a subway platform. The odds of connecting with these players are probable, and who knows, maybe you'll be catching 'mons with a new squad of friends, or teaming up in raid battles. There are even monthly community days that encourage players to mingle as they search for the featured Pokémon of the month.


While the communal aspect of the game is emotionally rewarding, strategically, players need to play in groups. In raid battles, ample players make it far easier to defeat a raid boss and reap the rewards of victory. Everyone's a winner and everyone benefits from working together.

Try doing a raid battle alone. I have and I can tell you first hand that it's no fun. Your team will get creamed and the timer will run out before you know it. Even if your team is strong, it's marginally harder to take down a boss on your own.

It's Unfair To Non-Urban Players

Speaking from personal experience, Pokémon Go is a game that's less rewarding to play when you live in rural areas. One, because of the lower population, and two because suburban and rural areas are more spaced out than urban ones. This means traveling or potentially walking through less pedestrian-friendly areas to get to gyms and stops.

I don't know if this is the case for other rural and suburban players, but playing in these areas is frustrating because of the lack of PokéStops. For me, there are no PokéStops within a good mile of my house. If I need to get items without shucking money, I need to go to the mall or the park to get supplies and eggs. And sometimes, I just can't easily get up and drive to these places, especially without a "true" purpose. Plus, without any friends that play the game, I feel less inclined to go out.

It's a Completely Different Game

Pokémon Go is an entertaining game. It's probably the closest thing we'll get to encountering RL Pokémon in this lifetime. Unfortunately, a lot of the magic and wonder that's associated with the game dissipates when you're left to your own devices. That's probably why Ash was given travel companions throughout the anime. It's fun to speculate how an anime with just Ash and Pikachu would look like, but at least Ash has the luxury of interacting with his Pokémon companions, something we don't have - yet.

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