Goodbye Flappy Bird, and say hello to everyone’s newest obsession, Pokémon Go. Pokémon Go is a free to play augmented reality mobile game developed by Niantic. According to TechCrunch, it has an estimate of 7.5M U.S downloads, $ 1.6M in daily revenue. No official numbers has been revealed as of yet, but it is surely dominating the app market.
I recently join the world of Pokémon Go. I found myself hooked like a fish. I started walking around my neighborhood with my eyes glued onto the screen hoping to catch a Pokémon just like the next pedestrian beside me. It was semi hard to stay focus on my surroundings. The GPS kept saying error which is a common error that must get fixed. Another issue I kept running into was when I catch a Pokémon, the game freezes and I lose it. Talk about frustration. I dig the AR mode in which I can see a 2D cartoon Pokémon on the streets of New York, for example, while standing on the subway platform waiting for the train, I managed to capture a Rattata on the platform.
Let’s take a look at what the game is essentially about. If you can remember the 90’s, then you can defiantly remember Pokémon. The game is all about capturing Pokémon’s, evolving them and training them. As you walk around in real world hunting for Pokémon’s, you can run into pokestop which are the blue floating box thing that can spit out random items like pokeballs and potions. There are plenty of those on the map and you might as well call it a pokeball gas station. There are also gyms in the game. The gyms are primarily used for training, battling and claiming. You can spot a gym by walking to a big colorful tower like icon. In order to access the gym, you must first reach level 5 and afterwards, choose a team to begin competing. There are three teams to choose from. Instinct (Yellow team), Valor (Red team) and Mystic (Blue team). Gyms in Pokémon Go are broken up into two categories. Rival and friendly. Rival gyms belong to the teams that didn’t seem appealing to you (the teams you didn’t pick). The way the rival gym battling system works is by lowering whomever you are in battle with prestige level. There is usually information displayed such as, trainer’s name and Pokémon stats. The more you lower a trainer’s prestige level, the more points are taken down from your rival gym. Once it hits zero, it is time to claim that gym and defend it. You claim a gym by leaving one of your Pokémon’s. Friendly gyms (your home team) can be used for friendly training purposes only. Besides gyms and pokestops, you can hack eggs as you real time walk by using an incubator. You can also earn medals throughout the game as a form of achievement.
So what happens when you take AR technology and use it in a game such as Pokémon? You will read stories on the web such as “Police issues warning for Pokémon go players after multiple robberies”, “Wyoming teen finds dead body while playing Pokémon Go”, “Pokémon Go bar crawl set up for Brooklyn”. Is Pokémon Go too much for us? There are a lot of positives but more so, negatives. Is it good that a game can lead people in getting robbed, finding a floating corpse and a warning issued saying “don’t Pokémon go and drive”? It is pure obsession. Each day it seems like Pokémon Go is making the headlines in random ways. What’s next? Pokémon Go and chill?