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Pokémon Go plus the San Antonio Spurs equals ...

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A new viral app helps make sense of the off-season.

The year was 1997. We lost the Notorious B.I.G., Princess Diana, and part of Evander Holyfield’s ear, but we gained the greatest franchise of all time—GoSpurs.

GoSpurs was a fixture of my childhood. From the moment I acquired my first GoSpur, Tim Duncan, I was glued to my Game Boy. My finest moment was when I unlocked Duncan’s advanced power—the high bank shot—and became unstoppable in the game. I desperately wanted more.

Finally, Patfo International is bringing our childhood fantasies to life with their augmented reality app, GoSpurs GO! I was lucky enough to get an early peek at the beta version of the game.

GoSpurs GO Logo ilana Marks

GoSpurs GO Logo

Similar to GoSpurs O.G., Professor Popovich greets you at the start of the game.  The silver hair, sparkling brown eyes, wry smile, rugged jaw line…the cheek crags, not only invite you to draft GoSpurs, they welcome you home.

Professor Popovich ilana Marks

Professor Popovich

The goal of the game is still to capture the best players, train them, and eventually compete in bouts, called playoffs. Straight out of the gate, I caught Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker, players added in the 2002 Silver expansion pack that are still in the game.

GoSpurs AR Screenshot: Manu Ginobli ilana Marks

GoSpurs AR Screenshot: Manu Ginobli

GoSpurs AR Screenshot: Tony Parker ilana Marks

GoSpurs AR Screenshot: Tony Parker

As if by habit, I filled my Spursdex with familiar players, and waltzed into a playoff.  Despite employing GoSpurs with high experience ratings (ER), my best moves left me woefully under-matched.  While losing a playoff does not end the game, your GoSpurs are vulnerable afterwards.  I lost my Boban Marjanovic to a vicious competitor.

ilana Marks

That is when I realized that GoSpurs GO! feels different from the game that I remember as a child. The most popular GoSpur, Tim Duncan, has been recently retired from play. I hear from GoSpur Gophers (the name for serious players who burrow their faces in their smart phones) that there are hacks for acquiring Tim Duncan. The secret is that you cannot search for him. If he wants to be found, then he will present himself to those who are pure of heart, and strong of fundamentals.

Without Tim Duncan, my foundation, my emotional compass, I needed to do some serious searching. The game had changed in the last twenty years, and I had to keep up. The great thing about GoSpurs GO! is all of the unique plug-ins that open the door for more expansive game play. This also increases the competition for good players.

So, there I was, searching for new GoSpurs when I found myself in a race with a gamer from Clutch City; a GO Splash Bro! app pro; and an enthusiast with the GO-K-C GO! plug-in for Android. Some of us had more to lose than others. The stakes were high, and the tension was evident.

GoSpurs GO! players ilana Marks

The Rockets fan threw his Dwight Howard into the fray, then yelled "No trade-backs," and sprinted away. I didn’t fall for that trap. A veteran player showed up on my radar, and I pursued him instead. But, I left part of my Spursdex vulnerable, and the Warriors fan snagged my David West. After drafting a newly hatched GoSpur, I escaped the scrum relatively unscathed. The OKC fan was not as lucky.

GoSpurs Stats: Pau Gasol ilana Marks

GoSpurs Stats: Pau Gasol

GoSpurs Stats: Dejounte Murray ilana Marks

GoSpurs Stats: Dejounte Murray

Perhaps GoSpurs GO! is not just a new platform for an old game, but is actually representative of a new generation of play.  With a "gotta catch ‘em all" mentality, the emphasis of the game seems to have shifted from composing the right roster, to hoarding the best roster.  I can definitely see this having an impact on the longterm enjoyment of this game.  For now, I am satisfied with my Spursdex.  The growth timeline is unpredictable, but I might have what I need to succeed in the next playoff.  The characters may be new, but the experience is timeless.