Pokémon first innovated going outside (by encouraging you to just do it virtually). After that, Pokémon reimagined walking (by encouraging you to use your phone while doing it). After 27 years, Pokémon is now reimagining sleep.
Although saying it may sound bizarre, exaggerated, or both, it is true that Pokémon Sleep is the most thrilling video game of the year. But, the term “video game” should not be taken too literally; Sleep is a gamified sleep tracking tool that combines the prettiest characters from the franchise with data to track an essential biological function. Very likely, you already have your smartphone close to your head when you sleep. The newest corporation to mine your biometric data while you do it is Pokémon.
Sleep brings Pokémon fans’ fantasies to life, as the Pokémon Company revealed earlier this week in a closely attended livestream to celebrate the franchise’s birthday. You gain points and have chances to see more Pokémon depending on how much and what kind of sleep you get. The island that acts as Pokémon Sleep’s main interface will have more Pokémon hanging out on it when you wake up, depending on how well you slept. You might spot a Slowpoke the next morning if your phone detects that you slept “goofy-style”—on your stomach with your legs stretched out in different directions. Like me, if you sleep curled up in a tiny ball in the fetal position, an Eevee might wake you up.
You see more Pokémon the more diverse sleeping arrangements you have. So, it’s time to experiment with your unconscious behaviour. The Pokémon Go Plus-Plus, an optional but not-required peripheral that rests flat on your bed and plays audio of a Pikachu cutely lulling you to sleep, is compatible with the game, so try it out. Later this year, when Pokémon Sleep debuts on app stores, you will finally discover how to stop rolling around and kicking your partner at night.
Pokémon Sleep is still a sleep-tracking app, as cute and goofy as all of this may sound. But, Pokémon devotees saw its complete unveiling as evidence of a higher power. After nearly four years of teasing, this ridiculous-sounding endeavour has finally been completed.
In May 2019, The Pokémon Company inexplicably revealed Pokémon Sleep, confusing the internet. What might the design of a game about sleeping even be? Do they really think we’ll just buy anything with the Pokémon logo on it and support them financially? The fact that the response is “yes” should make us feel horrible about ourselves.
The game’s release was planned for 2020. It didn’t release in 2020 for a variety of reasons. Or 2021. Or 2022. The tweet from 2019 that served as its original announcement grew in popularity over time. Continuing to question when Pokémon will assist them in falling asleep, Pokémon lovers wandered back into the answers.
The fact that Pokémon Sleep has returned is not what makes it particularly a Pokémon game about sleeping. It’s because businesses that hype up projects way too early have repeatedly let down fans of video games.
For years, developers have made a point of holding flashy press conferences where they show off pre-rendered screenshots of games with no set release date. This is why the release of the ultimately forgettable Final Fantasy 15, which had been in development for ten years, was such a big event. For instance, I still frequently consider the supposedly Nintendo game Super Mario 128 that was actually just a tech demo. And development hell, a typical issue, as exemplified by the infamous 14-year development cycle of the terrible Duke Nukem Forever. Making a video game requires a lot of time. We shouldn’t be surprised when video game makers don’t release them when they anticipate doing so, but yet, here we are: always surprised!
For four years, Pokémon Sleep was absent from the media. Naturally, we anticipated that it would be doomed to an eternal sleep. How could we be certain that it was Rip Van Winkle? Whether or whether the game is any good—similar to that Pokémon game about brushing your teeth, I will undoubtedly download it and play it at least once, just for the novelty—its emergence from what seemed to be an endless dormancy is a victory for the pessimists among us Pokémon fans.