Despite Pokemon Go being launched over a year ago, I've noticed that the community is still going strong - if you know where to find them.
The hype's died down, that's for certain. I predicted - correctly - that after the first couple months, all the bandwagoners would have quit, and only the true Pokemon fans would be left.
I've played Pokemon Go every single day since launch, with the only exception being a 2 week hiatus because my phone was stolen (it happened a few days after the second gen launched - I was MISERABLE) and another 1 week period where I desperately begged my sorority sister in France to try and catch a region-locked Mr. Mime for me (spoiler alert: she didn't find any) because my ten-year-old cousin had gotten one, and I was jealous.
What stood out to me during the initial hype was how crazy it felt to sit at home and obsessively play Pokemon Moon on my Nintendo DS, and then whenever I had to venture outside and do errands, I put the DS away and whipped out my phone... to play Pokemon Go.
It's kind of fun being consumed by Pokemon.
The introduction of legendary raids have really awakened my excitement for the app. Despite failing to catch Articuno and Moltres, it was exciting to meet random strangers in seemingly random locations around Tempe in an effort to work together to battle a legendary.
I met a 34-year-old woman who was absolutely hilarious... At first, she took me off guard, because I can be a judgmental ass and - well I'm just going to go out and say it - I totally thought she was on drugs. She was talking a mile a minute. But I soon realized she was fucking awesome when she started name-dropping the most recent 3rd party gym raid tracker and more impressively, the /r/TheSilphRoad subreddit. (If you don't play Pokemon Go or surf reddit obsessively, the sentence I just said was probably absolute jargon to you.)
In a nutshell... this lady was a total Pokemon nerd. And being a low key Pokemon nerd myself, I thought she was freaking awesome.
It also blew my mind that she was level 34. (I was only 30 at the time. OK, fine, I still am technically, but once I pop a Lucky Egg and evolve my Pokemon, I'll be 31.)
And then I felt kinda bad for judging her and thinking she was on crack or something. Like, she was probably just super friendly and nice. I need to remember this moment, so future Nicola can avoid acting like a judgmental asshole again.
Later on during the Pokemon Go hunt, I met a level 40. This time she was a very quiet, very meek-mannered but nice foreign woman. I say foreign because she had an accent but I really couldn't quite place it - Spanish maybe? Or Mexican?
In fact, during the raids, I obsessively checked all the other players' levels and I found myself on the lower end of the spectrum. 30 was considered low!
It was very, very humbling to say the least.
You know that quote where it's like - There will always be someone prettier, smarter, and younger than you?
It kind of felt like that.