13th Jul 2016
The first time I heard of an AR Pokémon game was a few months ago, when a friend told me about an upcoming game that would let users catch Pokémon in real time, walk Pokémon, et al. I wasn’t too concerned, but I do remember that excitement was writ large across his face. He is 24.
This morning, my cousin and I were discussing the cartoons that we’d grown up watching- Digimon, Beyblade, Dragon Ball Z and the like- and we were both vociferous in our assertions that Pokémon had been much more than a TV show back then. It was a sensation that no other game/show/franchise has quite managed to emulate.
So when Pokémon GO released this month, I find myself a little surprised by the fact that the makers didn’t quite calculate the scale of enthusiasm that the game would generate. It’s more important to people from my generation and slightly older, for whom 5-5.30 pm Pokémon on Cartoon Network, Pokédexes, Game Boys, movies, Ash Ketchum and Brock- to say nothing of the eternally beloved Pikachu- are little less than a legacy.
If you were wondering, “But what on earth is Pokémon GO?”, this is for you:
Pokémon GO is, from now on, what you will find in any dictionary when you look up the word ‘phenomenon’.
No, I’m just kidding. Well, I’m not, but here’s what Pokémon GO is about:
It’s an Augmented Reality mobile game, created by Niantic Labs in conjunction with Nintendo and The Pokémon Company. It works on both iOS and Android, although outside the countries where it has officially released (Australia, New Zealand and the USA), the APK file is available for download only on the Google Play Store.
Players can locate and capture Pokémon- creatures that live in the wild or in urban environments- engage in a Pokémon battle with another player, join teams, and in short, do many of the things that we watched Ash, Brock, and Misty do for years onscreen. All in real time.
So you could catch a Pokémon in your home- a friend found a Bulbasaur- or at the bus stop, at a restaurant, or… you get the picture. Here’s one of the best things I’ve seen so far:
Yes, that is indeed a Squirtle in the bathroom.
What’s more, the game is about to get an add-on: Pokémon GO Plus. No official release date has been given, but when it does launch, it will change the way the game is currently played in quite a big way. There’s not a lot we know about the Plus yet, but it’s a stand-alone peripheral that lets users play without having to look at the phone screen the entire time.
Image credits: Image via Tumblr (anniephantom)
So until Plus comes out, keep playing Pokémon GO!
Pokémon GO: The Dictionary Definition Of ‘Phenomenon’
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