Pokémon Gone, and app investments


So the last post I put here was talking about playing Pokémon GO. And now I’ve decided to just uninstall the app and take a break from it for about maybe a week? A month? We’ll see. I’m just going to give them some time to “fix” things, which I doubt they’ll ever totally fix anything. Every update that fixes one thing breaks another somehow, as if they seem to lack testing that checks a base set of scenarios. They lack infrastructure and they can’t organize anything until they have infrastructure. Part of that infrastructure just expects existing infrastructure such as GPS and cellphone networks to exist perfectly. Still, I feel like I’d rather unplug slightly and reclaim my personal time and walks outside as they come. Recent events have just made me decide that sooner.

Let me get something straight, I’m nowhere near Chicago and I have no plans to be anytime soon. Still, if you’re going to put that many active phones in a very small area and you can’t get everyone onto any provided wi-fi, and even if you do, it’s going to break communications. I don’t know how they managed to set up the whole ctOS thing in Watch Dogs, but that’s science fiction anyway, though possible in theory. Also the whole game is about breaking the system.

I also got to thinking about investment for things like games or apps or whatever. Not talking about time, but money. Essentially, an app is released for free in the hopes that it’ll make money, for the most part. Even without in-app purchases, there are probably ads. I don’t know how a microtransaction can be called “micro” when it starts exceeding $10 or $20, let alone $100. Pokémon GO is definitely guilty of this, as are several apps I’ve messed with in the past and present. Plus it has its own device, which costs $35, which is a bit much for a small beacon with a button that allows you to keep tracking distance while the phone screen is off. This seems to be a generally difficult design thing to work around for some weird reason, yet you can totally stream music and receive mail in the same scenario without an external device. Of course if you’re streaming music you probably have some kind of speaker attached unless you’re just using the phone’s speakers. Maybe GPS is different. I think my maps tend to stop tracking once the phone sleeps if what I’ve noticed on the bus is any indication.

Following from the whole investing extra into an existing thing, I’m starting to see why Amiibo are still persisting where others like Disney Infinity and even Skylanders are fading out. And it’s not just a scarcity thing, so would Nintendo just make enough Switch and mini consoles already. For one thing, the build quality is pretty good in general, even though human faces are tough to get right. Once they got going, it improved over time. They resorted to less obvious plastic stands to keep figures elevated and sometimes just incorporated support into the design.

For another thing, Amiibo actually work across multiple games of multiple franchises. Sure, Mario games tend to prefer Mario Amiibo and Kirby with Kirby Amiibo and so on, but some have a bit more cross compatibility in there, even if it’s minimal and just gives you a random bonus for any general Amiibo. This alone has made the figures (and cards) more valuable from a gameplay standpoint. If you’re like me and have a bunch of figures but no Zelda ones, you can still make a bunch of items fall from the sky in Breath of the Wild that will still help, just nothing extra special like certain weapons or armor.

Plus, characters that are defined tend to count as that character across several games. You can use a Smash Mario on Smash Bros. but also Mario games, and even decide to save non-Smash data to it if the game supports it. A lot of games are read-only for most cases. This also lends itself to backwards compatibility. For example, the new purple Squid Amiibo that has just come out works on the first Splatoon, it just appears as the green Squid since the game falls back on that I assume. It just has the added features with its traits to access the extra features specific to the purple Squid in Splatoon 2. This also applies to the Gold and Silver Mario figures, which work just like Mario figures but in games that recognize it react accordingly such as displaying a gold or silver indicator of some sort, for example.

Even as ridiculous as some Amiibo get in terms of size or features, they’ll still work in a fairly standardized way. It’s another thing that I find interesting, the fact that they’re adding on top of the whole stationary figure thing, so some will glow in the dark or have bendable arms or are squishy to the touch or even are embedded in plush. Skylanders did this too, they had ones that lit up from the NFC field somehow because it’s a bit of a weird power field. Plus they had ones that could change out their body parts, and even ones that switch between Skylanders and Amiibo modes. Still a bit of interesting innovation, but Skylanders figures tended to just be forwards compatible and only work with Skylanders games, which is a bit of a restriction. Same goes for Disney Infinity, but they tended to have more expensive figures in general as well as a general stylized look to tie it all together. I think I’ll have to talk about stylized figures another time because there’s one that just always pops to the top of the mind if you know what I mean.