Pokemon Go: A Year in Review

Logan Busbee
4 min readJul 7, 2017


Pokemon Go is the biggest thing to happen to the series since it released in the 90s. Today is the one year anniversary of its release. For those of you who somehow missed it, Pokemon Go is an Augmented Reality App, allowing Pokemon to come to life in the real world. However the app usage has decreased significantly since its release, but what did the game do right and wrong through its first year?

Although catching Pokemon is the name of the game, you’ll also use those Pokemon to fight in Gyms. However, you must belong to one of three teams, which are Team Valor, Team Mystic, and Team Instinct. Each has a legendary bird that is their icon, which is Moltres, Articuno, and Zapdos respectively. I chose Team Instinct, and it essentially turns the game into a hard mode. As of recent a new system has been added to Gyms called Raid Battles. It powers up one Pokemon a lot, and lets up to 20 people battle it, giving rewards and the ability to catch a strong version of that Pokemon.

Pokemon Go released a year ago, topping 28.5 million players at its peak. Although it was hugely popular at launch, many changes had to be made to the game, and at launch, it was almost all fixing server issues. I’ve listed the most important dates for the game.

7/6/2016 — The fateful day that Pokemon Go was released, and everyone became healthier by fulfilling their dreams of being a Pokemon Trainer.

8/3/2016 — This was the day the “Three Step” radar system was removed. This caused a long string of problems that would continue until a new radar system was installed.

8/22/2016 — This update implemented the “Appraisal” feature, which would essentially tell you if your Pokemon was strong or not.

9/10/2016 — This was the start of the Buddy System, which allowed you to walk with one Pokemon, and after a certain distance they would give you a candy.

10/5/2016 — This was a smart new feature, which had you find more elusive and rare Pokemon the more of that type you caught. This helped people who only found weak and common Pokemon of certain types.

10/24/2016 — This was the first event, and it was just in time for Halloween! It increased the chance of finding ghost and psychic type Pokemon, give double the candy for every catch, hatch, and transfer, and buddy Pokemon found candy four times as fast. This was another important update, as it created an event helping those who only found bad Pokemon, and helped keep the community rise from the dead.

11/6/2016 — Another necessary update, this made it so when someone beat an enemy gym, for a short time only you could put Pokemon in that gym, fixing a problem where people would “steal” gyms.

11/23/2016 — This was the first addition of an actual Pokemon, that being Ditto, who has the ability to shapeshift. It hides in the form of other Pokemon, only revealing itself afterwards. I still don’t have one.

12/7–8/2016 — An addition of the sponsors of Sprint and Starbucks, this showed the relevance of the game, or at least that it was seen as a profitable game.

12/12/2016 — This was the introduction of Pokemon from the Gold and Silver games. All that were released were “baby” Pokemon, all of which evolved into previously released Pokemon, excluding Togepi.

12/23/2016 — This was the Christmas event, and the most notable things were an increased chance to hatch “baby” Pokemon, a festive hat Pikachu, and an increased chance to find the starters.

2/8/2017 — Another event, the Valentines Day event, and I wrote a story on it that you can read here.

2/16/2017 — Generation Two released along with the battle layout improving, but more depth is explored in this article.

3/22/2017 — Another event, this was water themed, making pokemon like Magikarp, Squirtle, Totodile, Lapras, and many more.

3/24/2017 — This was the first appearance of a shiny Pokemon, that being Magikarp, and opened the door for more in the future.

5/4/2017 — The same event as previous, except featuring grass types instead of the aforementioned water types.

6/12/2017 — The most recent event, the Solstices event, which made both fire and ice types more apparent, for the approaching summer and winter in the Northern and Southern hemispheres respectively.

6/20/2017 — One of the bigger updates, this revamped the entire gym system, bringing the total down from 10 Pokemon to only 6, removing prestige, and adding individual Pokemon motivation levels, and introducing Raid Battles.

7/6/2017 — Pokemon Go’s first anniversary, and the birth of this article! Hopefully there will be many more of both!

Pokemon Go may have passed its peak, but it’s nowhere near its finale. With millions of dedicated players, and over 500 Pokemon left, it seems Pokemon Go is here to stay. Now that brings me to my real review, what do I rate the game?


As an exercise app, it provides a fun and familiar spin on things, but lacks standard features. As a game, it’s fun, but is somewhat bare in its mechanics. However, as a combination of both that also means to get people to act social, it greatly succeeds, but that doesn’t mean it’s that great. I’ve played it fairly consistently, and I will continue to, but the game is nowhere near perfect.



Logan Busbee

Reviewer of video games, movies, comics, and TV shows