While most people are out hunting for Pokémon, we're out hunting for the best Pokémon Trainers in Montreal.
And after checking around we quickly realized that no one is more addicted to this game than Alex Melki.
Since some people just don't get Pokémon GO, we figured we'd let him explain to you what it is.
But if you're one of the addicted players, perhaps you're just looking to find who's more addicted than you are in order to make yourself feel better.
Take it away Melki.
When/How did you first hear about Pokémon GO?
I heard about Pokémon GO maybe 6 months ago. I’ll be honest, the concept sounded amazing, but my jaded adult mind expected disappointment.
I’ve seen too many games/movies/experiences hyped up that never lived up to it. But still, I was hopeful it wouldn’t be a "freemium cash grab" by Nintendo. That said, the Pokémon GO: Montreal Facebook Group is an amazing community that’s up to 1500+ members in less than a week! Shout out to team Instinct!
How did you react when you found out how hard it was to download in Canada?
Not all THAT surprised. I’ve been following the smartphone game industry for a few years now, and the one thing that I’ve noticed is, especially with games relying on servers, there’s usually a soft launch in 2-3 countries. Normally in the UK, Australia and Canada.
I’m hoping that the only thing holding the game back at this point is Nintendo taking into account the servers necessary for a full launch.
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Do think the game is more popular in Canada because it's harder to download here?
Not necessarily. I know at least 20-30 people on Facebook that have been dying to get their hands on it but, they don’t know their way around a computer enough to get in on the fun right now.
More than anything, I’m amazed at how many people went through the process of getting around the Canadian app restriction!
What is your favorite aspect of the game?
The most incredible aspect of the game is how it forces people to be around each other in “REAL LIFE”.
If a traditional video game came out, no matter how popular it is, no matter how many people played it online, you’d still be playing it from your home. I walked about 2 hours downtown last night, wandering from park to park.
Each park had 2 or 3 lures (lures attract Pokémon to a location). There were easily 50+ people at each spot. It’s putting an emphasis on social interaction unlike anything I’ve ever seen!
What do you hate about the game?
The only thing that I’m getting frustrated with is the Pokémon tracking system.
It can be… less than reliable.
I wandered to a highway chasing after a Pinsir (rare Pokémon) only for it to just disappear.
I mean, don’t get me wrong. I still had a great time doing it and couldn’t help but laugh at myself as I was supposed to be buying groceries. Yet here i was in the 10 blocks from where I was supposed to be!
What was the first Pokémon You Caught?
The first Pokémon I caught was a Squirtle. EVERYONE is catching Charmanders. Water beats fire. I’m just thinking one step ahead ;)
Who's your favorite Pokémon?
My favorite Pokémon has got to be Arcanine.
Dude is just a giant furry fiery boss. Plus you’d totally be able to ride him around so your eggs hatch faster!
What's the most funny/fucked up thing you've seen in the city in the last few days?
So I’m standing around Concordia’s EV building when a buddy bumps into me. We notice there’s a Hitmonlee nearby, so we start walking in one direction.
As we get closer, a stranger crosses the street our way. Then another, and another.
Someone yells: "He’s down this alley!"
We walk faster, almost running at this point. Suddenly we come to a full stop, there are 5 of us in a random alleyway with our phones out catching a Hitmonlee!
It’s one of those ridiculous things that you’d see in a commercial and think to yourself: “That’s bullshit, that would NEVER happen!”.
It happened, and it was amazing.
How long do you think this Pokémon GO obsession will last? / Is this just phase?
Unless they add some updates such as battling friends or unique “rare Pokémon” events, then the hype will definitely die down.
Again, the cynic in me gives it another week tops before people get tired of catching Ratatas and Pidgeys. That said, augmented reality gaming is definitely the next big thing. This specific Pokémon game might not last, but I sincerely hope there will be more to come. Because seeing dozens of people every few blocks OUTSIDE playing a game is the best thing to happen to video gaming in a long time.
Describe a day in the life of a Pokémon GO Trainer.
Wake up, check Facebook, Reddit, and Pokémon Go.
I live and work downtown, so I’ll leave a bit earlier and walk the 20 minutes with a few detours here and there.
Lunch break? More walking, and it’s fun.
Some part of my brain is being severely tricked.
Living next to Concordia’s EV building means that at 11:00 PM, there are still 3-4 lures within a block from my apartment, so I’ve had a few late night walks!
My legs are a bit tired though, I’m clocking in more than 20,000 ft. walked these past couple days. That's 2-4 times what I normally walk. So it’s substantial.
How do you balance your work and your Pokémon Trainer career?
Working downtown means my lunch breaks are great for finding lures or just walking by local gyms for a quick battle. If you can make time to go on Facebook during your lunch break, then you can walk around for an hour!
Where do you find the most/best Pokémon?
Here’s a map with my go-to spots! I’ll usually stick to the confines of this map. The red circles are where you can consistently find lures throughout the day. More so between 6:00 PM and 10:00 PM. Good hunting!!