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Niantic has released a brand new trailer intended to show off the upcoming Buddy Adventure update for Pokémon GO. While the trailer itself doesn't do a very good job of comprehensively explaining what to expect when the update lands next year, it does do a fantastic job of punching us square in the nostalgia glands.
The ad follows the journey of a kid who grew up in the '90s. Like most of us born in that decade, the lad develops a strong love for Pokémon, and is delighted when he gets his very own cuddly Squirtle plush for Christmas. Check it out below to see how it unfolds.
As the trailer shows us through a series of adorable scenes, Squirtle and boy are inseparable. They watch the animated series together, play the Trading Card Game together, and even dine together. It's super relatable to anyone who grew up with a favourite monster, which most of us surely did. Mine was Eevee, thanks for asking.
The trailer ends with the boy all grown up, his Squirtle toy presumably living in a box in an attic somewhere. It'd be a tragedy on par with Jessie's fate in Toy Story 2... but a kind twist shows us that, thanks to Pokémon GO's Buddy Adventure system, the kid-turned-young adult can now take a digital version of Squirtle with him wherever he goes. The two can frolic and play together with other "Buddy" Pokémon, and he won't get beaten up for being a grown man who carries a Squirtle toy around. Everybody wins.
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Yes, it is admittedly a little saccharine. Yes, it's also a shameless attempt to exploit our '90s memories. And yes, the music over the top might lay it on a little thick. But at the end of the day, it serves as a perfectly timed festive reminder of why those of us who grew up with the franchise have all formed our own special, unique attachments to certain Pokémon.
Like I said though, the trailer doesn't really explain how the Buddy Adventure feature works, so allow me. Releasing in early 2020, according to Niantic, the upcoming feature effectively allows you to feed, play, take photos and generally hang out with your favourite Pokémon in AR. The more you hang out with your chosen monster, the more specific perks you'll unlock for them.
At first your monster will simply follow your in-game avatar around the map, but as you reach new "Buddy Levels" your Pokémon will be able to do things like earn candies quicker and direct you to nearby points of interest.
More than anything else, though, Buddy Adventure is clearly just designed to make players feel good as they explore the world alongside the Pokémon they grew up with - just like we did back in the days of Pokémon Yellow. That feeling, to be fair, is something the trailer does a great job of getting across.
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