Pokémon GO is certainly not without its problems, but there's no denying the incredible impact it left on the past year. Upon release, the game stirred up a phenomenon few had seen before in mobile gaming. Pokémon GO smashed records in a dozen ways. Trainers walked a combined 8.7 billion kilometers -- enough to reach Pluto. Just think of the amazing advances we'd make in space travel if we could somehow harness that dedication! Pokémon GO shook things up in a big way this year, but it now faces an uncertain future. In this time of reflection before the new year, let's take a look back at the ways Pokémon GO left its mark.
It brought in big numbers
Let's start with the obvious, shall we? Pokémon GO saw the most downloads in its first week over any other program in App Store history. That means Pokémon GO beat out mobile juggernauts like Clash of Clans and Candy Crush Saga drawing in more players than anyone had ever imagined. As the game sweeped across the world, more and more people joined in, eager to see what all of the fuss was about, truly becoming a global phenomenon. And while Pokémon GO's playerbase has waned a good deal, the game is still drawing in millions of dedicated players, which is nothing to be ashamed of.
It got people moving
July likely saw a huge boost in cardio activity, too, as Pokémon GO trainers hit the pavement, either jogging or walking for miles to hatch eggs and seek out rare Pokémon. People headed out to the parks, got back into exercising, and found renewed reason to enjoy the hot summer weather.
People made friends and noticed the little things
Pokémon fans mobbed parks and other public areas on the lookout for elusive Pokémon. But rather than idly staring at phones, people struck up a comfortable comraderie with fellow trainers, with entire communities popping up online, and flash Pokémon GO parties appearing around lures placed in cities and famous landmarks.
And even if you did manage to play Pokémon GO without running into swarms of other players, the game was also a great opportunity to learn more about your home. Niantic featured little points of interest people probably would have taken for granted otherwise. PokéStops are plopped on top of places of interest, giving people extra incentive to learn more as they spin for new items.
It stirred up a Poké-revival
2016 also marked Pokémon's 20th anniversary. Pokémon GO played a huge role in driving excitement and stirring nostalgia for all things Pokémon. Fans sought out Poké-merch with renewed fervor, returned to the classic Red/Blue/Yellow games, and even developed a renewed interest in Pokémon Sun and Moon, which smashed records of their own when they launched in November.
Despite its flaws, Pokémon GO has had an incredible social impact on mobile gaming, the effects of which we'll be seeing for some time to come. Numbers may have fallen off somewhat, but that does little to negate the fact that Pokémon GO was one of the most important apps of 2016.
What are you fondest memories of Pokémon GO? Share in the comments!