Rare Pokémon or not, making new friends is the biggest hurdle for some it seems.

Two years after its release, augmented reality monster-catching game Pokémon GO has lost a bit of steam but still has a sizable fan base in Japan, catching the hearts of gamers with exciting battles and adorable critters.

The game has ushered in Celebi, its next mythical Pokémon, in a unique multi-step questline that rewards players with tons of in-game goodies. It’s a long process involving gym battles or leveling up various Pokémon that culminates in an encounter with Celebi who, much like Mew, is not obtainable through normal gameplay.

▼ Must. Get. New. Pokémon.

Some of the activities to fulfill are as simple as using the recently introduced friend feature to find new friends and send them gifts, but for a community that’s considered shy by many, the event turned out to be gamebreaking for some.

“Celebi… three friends… (;ω;)”

“I have zero Pokémon friends and I’m thinking
really hard. Only four days left.”

Recruiting random friends from the Internet is the easiest solution, but some players would rather wait at hotspots hoping to actually meet someone with similar interests and engage in some Pokémon trading.

The problem is that though these places may be filled to the brim with aspiring trainers, catching the monsters or joining raids is a mostly solitary process that makes interaction with strangers a rather awkward affair.

▼ Overcoming shyness is not Japanese people’s strongest point.

Reactions from Japanese netizens about friend requirements were mixed:

“I can’t make any new friends.”
“This game was originally meant to be played alone, so why did they force people to make friends?”
“All you have to do is reach out to people during raids. But that’s kind of difficult for people living in the countryside.”
“They could seriously do away with the questline.”
“I like how Niantic did this.”

While Niantic probably envisioned the event spurring Pokémon GO players to find new friends at various hotspots, the reality is that some Japanese people find it too daunting to overcome those invisible walls and strike up conversations with strangers. It’s a little unfortunate for these players, as simple conversation can sometimes lead to meaningful and deep friendships.

Source: Internet Watch via My Game News Flash
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert images: Pakutaso (1, 2)