Pokemon Go: 12 things it needs to become the Greatest Game Ever™

Blah blah blah living under a rock blah blah Pokemon Go blah blah taking the world by storm blah blah blah playing it while driving blah blah people being mugged blah blah.

Chances are you’re sick of Pokemon Go stories by now, with every news source jumping on the Pokewagon and trying to jam the game into any headline they can, even if it doesn’t really have anything to do with the story.

As a result, I appreciate the last thing you want to read is another bloody Pokemon Go article, but considering yer man Scullion, six-year Official Nintendo Magazine veteran, hasn’t written anything about it yet, I hope you’ll humour me and read one more piece on it from someone who at least knows his onions.

pokemon-go-screen-1I’ve been enjoying Pokemon Go so far, but there are some things I’d like to see added to it so it becomes even better. That’s right, we’re busting out a list article up in this Mother Hubbard. Buckle up.

A list article on ways a game could be better, no less. But fret not! This isn’t a moany one. Remember the Tired Old Hack policy – positive coverage of games. There are enough websites trading tirades for traffic, so this isn’t one of them.

As a result, there’ll be no “fix your servers you pricks” or anything like that in this list. Yes, there are technical issues that need to be addressed – the servers, the three-step bug and the like – but these are commonly known and you don’t need me to bring them up again.

Instead, these are the 12 things I’d like to see added to Pokemon Go in future updates, in order to make it the Greatest Game Ever™.

In no particular order…

1) Auto-catch

What makes Pokemon Go different from standard Pokemon games is that the aim is to catch absolutely everything you come across. Got a Voltorb with 496 CP and you encounter one with only 131 CP? Catch the prick anyway.

Mate, I really don’t have time for this

I get why there’s a need for it – every time you catch one you get stardust for powering up Pokemon plus candies specific to that Pokemon to help you evolve it – but there’s no denying it gets a bit repetitive, especially when you’re level 14 and you come across a wee 10 CP knob-end.

That’s where auto-catch would come into play. Entirely optional (because some people still like catching them), it would kick in at something like level 10 and let you automatically catch any Pokemon under a certain CP level.

So you’d be walking around, one would appear on the screen, you’d tap it, see its CP is 24, then hit the auto-catch button and immediately skip to the caught screen (minus a Pokeball of course). No more sitting around for ages waiting for that slow capture animation when you don’t really care if it escapes or not.

Maybe as you level up the CP cap could raise: 15 for level 10, 20 for level 11 and so on.

2) More Pokemon… but not yet

I don’t care if you’ve already got them all. Some of us are methodical

As you probably know, there are currently 143 Pokemon available in Pokemon Go, with legendaries and Ditto still to come (no doubt being saved for the inevitable breeding update).

As you also probably know, there are pissloads more Pokemon in the main handheld series – more than 720, to be precise – meaning there are plenty more to come.

I appreciate there are some fans out there who are already desperate for more of them, and I know patience isn’t something we have a lot of in this day and age, but calm your ham.

Let’s concentrate on catching all the ones that are out already: just because some guy’s already done it doesn’t mean the adventure’s over for everyone else. The others will come in time, for now let’s try to power up the ones we have so far.

3) Proper Google Maps integration

Edinburgh or London? No way to tell without street names

It’s no secret that Pokemon Go uses the Google Maps API to show you the various roads and landmarks on your travels. But why stop at the simplistic maps it currently shows?

If part of the game is about exploring your surroundings, then give us the option to turn on street names too.

I moved back to Scotland a year ago and still have no idea what most of the street names near me are – if I get to see them regularly on my Pokemon Go outings I’ll eventually learn them. And knowledge is power.

Even better, add directional navigation too. I (like many others) often use Google Maps on my phone when I have to go somewhere I’ve never been before, why should I have to exit Pokemon Go to do it? Stick a basic directional feature in Pokemon Go, let us enter where we’re going and draw out a path for us to follow while we continue catching.

4) Better trainer customisation

Are you happy with the trainer you created way back at the start of the game? Me neither. There was about as much variety there as in the Romantic Comedy aisle at HMV.

Look at this poor generic pastiche of me

Do you pay any attention whatsoever to the trainer avatar any time you tap a gym to see who its leaders are? Of course you don’t, because other than gender and skin colour they all look pretty much identical.

Miitomo may be dying on its arse at the moment, but one thing it did brilliantly was customisation. The number of outfits available was impressive and many more are added on a weekly basis.

It would be fantastic if Pokemon Go featured similar character customisation – not necessarily using your Mii (though MyNintendo integration wouldn’t go amiss), but at least a wide, ever-growing range of outfits for your trainer to give you a bit of individuality.

Maybe even just let people who’ve signed in via their Google account use their profile pic as a wee avatar (viewing them would be optional of course, because kiddies).

5) Photo mode for Pokemon you own

You know that when you’re catching a Pokemon you can press the camera button and take a photo of it? Of course you do, you’ve seen all the comedy photos on Twitter and the like.

How can I tell my "I've got crabs" joke when it's on a carpet and not my crotch?
How can I tell my “I’ve got crabs” joke when it’s on a carpet and not my crotch?

Well, how come once you catch the Pokemon you’re never allowed to take a photo of them again? Does the shame of being trapped in a tiny ball suddenly make them camera shy?

How about a separate photo mode that lets you call out any of the Pokemon you already own and position them however you like, for what I believe today’s youth call “bare lolz”?

Miitomo already has a fantastic AR photo mode that lets you pose your Mii, draw over the picture and so on. I know Pokemon Go doesn’t really need the extra social media promotion but it’d be a great way to ensure people keep talking about it once they get bored of trying to catch them all.

Even better, let us bring out more than one Pokemon at a time so we can have them interacting with each other. We promise we won’t make it look like they’re doing sex stuff.

6) Force screen timeout disable

Listen Niantic, I know you want me glued to my phone at all times when I’m walking around but sometimes a brother just wants to walk some eggs.

The problem is, as soon as your screen turns off, the app stops counting steps. That means I need to keep tapping the screen at the very least to keep my phone active.

“Chris, you massive cretin”, I hear you rather unfairly say, “just go into your phone settings and stop it automatically turning off the display”. But you see, not all phones are born equal.

I mean, there's the battery saver mode which does this when you turn the phone upside-down, but the screen can still turn off and kill the app
I mean, there’s the battery saver mode which does this when you turn the phone upside-down, but the screen can still turn off and kill the app

My Samsung Galaxy S7 settings only let me set my screen for a maximum of 10 minutes before it turns off, meaning if I stick my phone in my pocket I need to dig it out again every nine minutes or risk the app turning off and (as has happened a few times) becoming unresponsive when I start it up again.

I know there are third-party apps that stop your phone’s screen turning off but I’m wary of using those. In theory, this is something Niantic can fix at their end.

App developers have the ability to prevent the screen from turning off (video apps do it, for example) so there’s no reason why Pokemon Go can’t do the same with a future update, letting me finally bust open more eggs than a fox in a coop.

7) Android Wear and Apple Watch support

Speaking of having my phone in my pocket, I know Nintendo is bringing out those Pokemon Go Plus wristbands that vibrate when a Pokemon is nearby, but some of us already have unnecessarily overpriced shit wrapped round our wrists.

"What's the time, you ask? Why, it's... TIME YOU JOINED TEAM INSTINCT, YOU SCRUB"
“What’s the time, you ask? Why, it’s… TIME YOU JOINED TEAM INSTINCT, YOU SCRUB”

My Android watch already tells me when I get a text, a tweet or an email, it would be smashing if it could also tell me if there’s a Pikachu nearby.

(And I’m not using Pikachu as a lazy example like the mainstream press do, I literally haven’t caught the wee dick yet.)

Taking it even further, imagine if you could tap the watch and play a wrist-based version of the catching mini-game without having to take your phone out.

Speaking of watches, I wouldn’t mind an official Pokemon Go watch face for mine. I’ve downloaded an unofficial one but it makes me feel dirtier than a Grimer’s boxers.

8) Auto-comparison

Look, I can’t remember if I have one better than you. Come on, Mime is money (joke © Spinal Tap)

As an elderly man at the ripe age of 33, my memory’s not quite what it used to be. Or maybe it’s always been this bad. I dunno, I can’t remember (I’m here all week, folks).

As such I can’t remember off the top of my head what the CP level is for all the Pokemon I currently have.

So when I catch a Clefairy with a CP of 263, it’s unlikely I’ll remember if the Clefairy I already have is stronger than that.

If I did know – for example, if the one I just caught had a CP of 10 – there’s a useful ‘transfer’ option on the caught screen that lets you punt it right away.

But since I don’t always know, it would be nice if next to the ‘transfer’ option it also showed you the CP of any other Pokemon of the same species you already own, letting you quickly see whether you should chuck the new one.

Not a massive feature, but then, it’s the little things.

9) Mass transferring

Until my previous suggestion is added, this could be another potential way to ease my multi-Pokemon woes.

Quite appropriate that these are all Drowzees, because transferring them all puts me to sleep

I don’t know what it is about my two-mile stroll to work every day, but it would appear Leith Walk is swarming with Drowzees.

That isn’t my issue: you plays the game, you takes your chances. It’s just that, as a forgetful chap (did I already tell you that? I don’t recall) I can’t remember which is my strongest, so I just keep all the ones I catch and transfer them later when I’m at home.

Unfortunately, transferring more than one Pokemon at a time can be very time-consuming. You have to go into your list of Pokemon, tap the one you want, scroll down to the Transfer option, accept the yes/no prompt, wait for the screen saying you’ve earned a candy, then repeat.

How blummin’ useful it would be, then, if you could just hold your finger on one Pokemon to trigger a multi-select, then just tap all the ones you want to transfer and dispose of them all in one go.

Imagine how lovely it would be to wipe out an entire species just like that. Hang on, that didn’t sound right.

Speaking of which…

10) Cool it with the fucking Drowzees, mate


11) Noticeboards

Without a doubt, the best phenomena surrounding Pokemon Go following its release has been the way it’s brought communities together and caused strangers to strike up conversations with each other.

That said, a lot of these interactions are very much a ‘right place at the right time’ situation, and most of the time when you wander past a PokeStop or gym there’s nobody else there to share in the goodness.

Imagine something like Miiverse, only people wouldn’t just talk about Pokemon all the time

That’s where noticeboards could come into play. Imagine if every gym – or even every individual PokeStop – had its own noticeboard that you could only post to if you were in its vicinity.

Imagine walking past a sculpture, then checking out its noticeboard and seeing someone say “I came all the way from Sweden to see this sculpture because I’m a fan of the artist”.

Then imagine someone else from a rival Team replying “you wasted your time mate, it’s shite. Team Instinct forever”.

Imagine how much more exciting the three-team system would be if local team members could leave messages taunting each other.

Obviously this would be an optional feature – there’s no way something so grand could be moderated so there’d need to be an opt-out to make sure children couldn’t read the messages – and maybe there could be a new pen item to dissuade people from spamming every PokeStop they walk past with their Twitter username or something.

But imagine it. A city full of little Animal Crossing style messageboards. Every stranger walking by a certain spot being able to communicate with each other. New friendships being made between people who regularly pass by the same spot. Brilliant stuff.

12) Be Super Mario Galaxy 3

As of the latest update, Pokemon Go still isn’t Super Mario Galaxy 3.

For starters, it doesn’t have Mario in it. It also isn’t set in space, it isn’t a platform game and it doesn’t feature orchestral music composed by Mahito Yokota and Koji Kondo.

12 super mario galaxy

It’s also only available on Android and iOS phones, instead of a Nintendo system (such as the upcoming NX).

There’s probably a lot of work needed before Pokemon Go is Super Mario Galaxy 3, but until that happens it can’t become the Greatest Game Ever™.

Take note, Niantic. All you need to do is make your game Super Mario Galaxy 3 and you’ll be fine.

If you want to help me write more list features that fizzle out near the end like this one, why not become one of my lovely Patreon folk and support my work? It’s cool, I know why, because it costs money. But you know what else costs money? Freedom. So ther… what? It doesn’t? Oh.


  1. Sadly, due to my shite windows phone, I am yet to experience this pokenomenom (like ‘phenomenon’, but with Pokemon! Get it? GET IT?) However, my contacts on the inside have told me many great things about it. It’s nice to have an article that offers constructive feedback, as opposed to “My kids left me to play Pokemon Go, now I can never look at a pidgey without weeping uncontrollably”, or some other such negative click bait shit.

    Tldr: noice work

  2. When the game first launched (in Australia because yeah I’m a dirty cheat) it struck me how absent Nintendo’s branding was – only later was it revealed they had almost nothing to do with it. It seemed like a missed opportunity to integrate Miiverse and Miitomo into something meaningful. Imagine if you could use Miitomo reward coins to buy pokeballs and lures, not just trendy outfits for your Mii that can only be seen by the twelve people that didn’t already delete it. I know The Pokemon Company and Nintendo are separate entities but a little cross-promotional love can’t hurt.

    I heard the other day Niantic said the game only has about 10% of the content they planned for it, which actually had me worried for a second. There are new stories every day about people playing this game, getting themselves and others hurt because they were distracted, when there are currently only really two things to do in the game. I wonder how many of the ‘traditional videogame’ ideas (even those from the main Pokemon series) many people are calling for can be put into a mobile game, that tells you to always be aware of your surroundings, before you can’t help but be distracted more times than not. I like that your suggestions don’t bloat it into an unplayable mess, but improve what’s already there in the core game.

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