Forget Trump, Brexit or any of the other colossal events that have shaped 2016 in their own peculiar way; it’s telling that, after all that’s happened these last 12 months, it was Pokémon Go that was the most searched term of the year. This was a gaming phenomenon like no other – or, at the very least, the closest games have come to causing full-on hysteria since the boom days of the early 80s. Only a few short months on from the madness of the summer, it’s all too easy to forget the impact Pokémon Go had, so to remember we’ve pieced together a few personal anecdotes from the Eurogamer team.
Martin: The world changed in so many ways in 2016, and over the summer it underwent a gentle metamorphosis that was all too fleeting. On my cycle back home during the long July evenings, the car park by Halfords in Catford would thicken with mobs, while the park around the back of my house was patrolled by small pockets of families. It was a phenomenon unlike anything I’d ever seen in gaming before: Nintendo’s Wii was perhaps the last thing of compare, though that was a revolution that happened in people’s living rooms, but this was one that could be seen out on the streets.
For a short while it seemed that everyone was playing Pokémon Go, and it was delightful – strangers would work together. People who’d never spoken to each other before would share stories and point one another in the direction of a nearby Psyduck. I noticed landmarks on my doorstep that I’d overlooked in the past five years of living in this particular part of south east London – the knee-high monument that’s been overrun with weeds one the outskirts of Ladywell Fields, the home of King Kong screenwriter Edgar Wallace in the dark heart of Brockley. It’s rare that a video game opens up your eyes to the world around you. It’s even rarer to find one that makes that world seem like a happier, warmer place.