Two years ago in the Summer of 2016 you couldn’t move for people playing Pokémon GO on their smartphones.

The game was a phenomenon that didn’t just grip a nation, but the world over. As an ardent Pokémon fan I was of course, one of the many who couldn’t put the game down, bumping awkwardly into passers-by on the street as I attempted that perfect curveball to catch a passing Pikachu.

But full discloser, I was, up until recently, a lapsed Pokémon GO player. That’s because over time, the near infinite grind of that first 14 month period for the game did start to wear incredibly thin. And then, roughly a year and a half into the game's existence the game had grown stale for even this die-hard trainer.

And we suspect that we’re not alone, with many other casual gamers perhaps dropping out way before our own threshold.

But whilst it would be easy to suggest that the above is normal and that "No-one plays Pokémon GO anymore” the truth of the matter is that the game couldn’t be doing any better. 

Recent numbers suggest that more people played Pokémon GO in May 2018 than at any time since the game's initial launch.

Which is also excellent news for the games new long-awaited social features, which include in-game friend lists to help you buddy up as well as the ability to gift and (excitingly) trade with your pals.

Eager to see if it had actually changed all that much, I recently jumped back in. And after months away, I’ve once again been bitten by the proverbial Pokémon GO bug. 

Not only are the new features a revelation. But, past updates I’d previously missed - quests to help catch Legendary Pokemon - have also given the game a new lease of life. Not to mention, a plethora of new Pokemon which have been added to the game since I last booted it up.

But as we mention, the current update is formed around strengthening bonds with friends and other players. And this new found sense of ‘community’ couldn’t be better emphasised than by the game makers latest real-world event, which took place in Dortmund, Germany this past weekend.

Daily Star was in attendance as 170,000+ trainers descended onto the sun-kissed city and beautiful Westfalenpark, for a joyous event reminiscent of any Summer music festival.

And it wasn’t just loads of ’geeky’ 18-30-year-olds. The event was an eclectic mix of Pokémon GO players ranging from the very young nippers of 5 or 6 (with parents), to the surprisingly spritely older generation of 65+.

We met trainers who’d driven from all over Europe to be in attendance and amazingly quite a few who had flown over from the likes of Korea, Nebraska and even as far as Mexico!

It goes to show the game is anything but dead. And thanks to the games latest features it’s also better than it’s ever been.

So whilst the weather is glorious, get out there and catch ‘em all, all over again.

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