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‘Pokemon Go’ finds new life in Nintendo Switch games ‘Pokemon: Let’s Go’
Have some favorite Pokemon from the original list of 150 you've caught on Pokemon Go? You'll be able to transfer those over to the new Nintendo Switch version of the game: Pokemon: Let's Go. Image courtesy of The Pokemon Company.

Start pounding the pavement now, trainers: "Pokemon Go" will be compatible with the upcoming “Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu” and “Pokemon: Let’s Go, Eevee” for Nintendo Switch.

The two games, set to launch on Nov. 16, will have an in-game park dedicated to transferring "Pokemon Go" characters from one game to the other. This feature only works with the original 150 Pokemon in the game, and once they’ve been moved from "Pokemon Go" they can’t go back.

But even so, local players are already returning to "Pokemon Go" in anticipation of Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee’s arrival. In Dahlonega, Megan Gadow has previously used the game as a way to connect with co-workers from her job at Walmart, and she’s coming back to the mobile platform ahead of the new games’ release.

“Once I learned about the compatibility between the two I decided to pick ("Pokemon Go") up again just so that I would hopefully have more to do in Let’s Go,” Gadow said. “At the time, they didn’t really say how the two would link, but I assumed I’d be able to trade Pokémon from Go into Let’s Go. I figured it would be cool to try to level up some of my favorites from Go, and it was just something to do while I was excited for Let’s Go, to assuage my hype.”

On a larger scale, local communities are also ramping up their "Pokemon Go" playtime ahead of Let’s Go’s launch. The "Pokemon Go" — North Georgia Facebook group, which has more than 1,500 members, has seen a steady rise in member’s interest in the Switch games, including Matt Wildeboer, who plays with his son Miles, who is asking for Let’s Go for Christmas.

“We’ve joined some groups on Facebook and Discord servers in order to meet up with other local players for raid events,” Wildeboer said. “I feel like all the players in town know Miles; I’m more of his chauffeur. I really enjoy wandering around Gainesville with my two boys, and it’s been a great motivation for all of us to get more active.”

"Pokemon Go" Raids are group battles against powerful Pokemon at designated areas. Winning these fights nets you special items and an opportunity to capture these Pokemon and add them to your collection.

Those who use "Pokemon Go" for outside activity like Wildeboer will find that in the Switch games if they purchase the Poké Ball Plus peripheral, which can be bought seperately for $49.99 or alongside the game in a $99.99 bundle.

The accessory acts both as a Nintendo Switch controller and a way to play "Pokemon Go" without running down your phone’s battery. By connecting the Poké Ball Plus to your phone you can capture Pokemon in Go, and count your steps to hatch eggs in the game. While the functionality might draw in the most dedicated of "Pokemon Go" players, not everyone is convinced. University of North Georgia student Lauren Jones, who has frequented local areas like the college and Gainesville square to play "Pokemon Go" since launch, questions the usefulness of the pricey peripheral.

“I think the Poké Ball Plus is stupid and I refuse to buy it,” Jones said. “I don’t like it because it is a controller that can only be utilized in one game for almost the same price as two joy-cons.”

For way too much money ($50 as a standalone item or $100 when paired with the game itself) you can buy a Poké Ball Plus, a step tracker that allows you to build up steps for Pokemon games. Image courtesy of The Pokemon Company.

While local "Pokemon Go" community members are excited about transferring Pokemon between games, there appears to be a divide between those who want to see it become a series mainstay.

Flowery Branch High School student Carson Senden, a lifelong fan of the series, worries that including it in every game could create balance issues, and hopes that Nintendo and The Pokemon Company create limits to the features to ensure players can’t use it to finish the game too quickly.

“I think that realistically it can stay in the game as long as they keep it late game,” Senden said. “If you can transfer them as soon as you get the game then people will have advantages to beating the game. Although you can already transfer Pokémon through Pokebank, it has its limits to make sure it doesn’t help you beat the game.”

Meanwhile, Jones hopes that connections between "Pokemon Go" and other games in the series won’t become a recurring theme, and that it won’t feel like a requirement to those looking for a more traditional experience in Pokemon: Let's Go.

“I sincerely hope that "Pokemon Go" will not be a huge integral factor in the overall experience of Let’s Go,” Jones said. “My hope for Let’s Go is that it will be its own unique game, and the integration of "Pokemon Go" into Let’s Go will be less of a necessity and more of an enhancement.”

Beyond the compatibility with "Pokemon Go", “Pokemon: Let's Go Pikachu” and “Let’s Go Eevee” are enhanced remakes of 1998’s “Pokemon Yellow” for the original Game Boy system, and the third and fourth Pokemon games to be released on the Nintendo Switch. Players travel through the world of Kanto with either a Pikachu or Eevee partner depending on which game they purchase. Both games will be available in stores and online through the Nintendo eShop on Friday, Nov. 16.