In a turn of events that are either exciting or annoying depending on who you ask, July of last year was the time when dreams of some people who played the games and watched the still-running anime series sort of came true, thanks to the wonders of mobile internet and American game maker niantic labs, who worked under the banner of The Pokémon Company and Nintendo to introduce an augmented-reality (AR) mobile app game that became a massive hit, a social phenomenon and a national security concern-slash-all around general annoyance in multiple countries: “Pokemon Go”. Eventually however the novelty seemed to wear off and the once ubiquitous game faded from the spotlight and in the purview of only dedicated players.

That is until the most massive game update arrived all of a sudden for the app this February. And now suddenly it’s like winding up for July 2016 all over again.

‘The Search Continues’

Anybody who was still either keeping tabs on the game or continuing their quest to be “The Very Best like no one ever was” must surely have been taken by surprise last week when Niantic Labs patched “Pokémon GO” with several new gameplay mechanic tweaks, as well as an astonishing 80 new Pokemon creatures wandering the virtual representation of our real world, now well advancing beyond the 151 Generation 1 series of Nintendo’s fictional animals. For the interested, the released new Pokémon hail from the Gameboy Color’s “Gold” and “Silver” Pokémon videogames released in 2000, and included Totodile, Cyndaquil and Chikorita whom Ash Ketchum acquired from when he and his party traveled through the Johto region in the anime.

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As for the gameplay alterations, “Pokémon Go” now has its Berry in-game items do things such as increase the amount of Pokémon Candy that a Pokémon coughs up when they’re trapped in the player’s Poke-balls or alternatively to increase the success rate of a Pokémon capture. To facilitate this, the game interface now makes it easy to swap between using Poke-balls or Berries when in a creature capture screen.

Popularity resurgence

What once was long left behind by most as a passing fad has suddenly begun to gather renewed notice, as “Pokémon Go” now surges back to high ranks in both the Apple Store and Google Play – from 149th place to 30th, and from 77th to 3rd respectively. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the major patch from Niantic Labs has once again sparked that inexplicable Pokémon fever that gripped the world so strong in the year past. Only time will tell how long this new phase of interest will last.