If you regularly surf the web, you’ll have definitely heard about this. I can’t even scroll two minutes through Facebook without seeing at least one mention of it.
On the other hand, if you’re not the type to frequent social media, you might have suddenly noticed something odd about the millennial generation these days: they’re actually going outside! They’re walking, they’re running about, and they’re finally getting some sun – but they’ve still got their faces buried their phones. If you’re finding yourself confused about this sudden shift in observed behaviour, there’s a very simple explanation: Pokémon Go.
WHAT IS IT?
For those of you who don’t know, Pokémon is an extremely popular Japanese anime (or cartoon) series. Due to its incredible popularity, Pokémon has been releasing a series of video games ever since 1996, which has proven to be even more popular than the original TV series.
These video games not only skyrocketed the Pokémon series into universal recognition, but have planted themselves firmly in the childhood memories of many of the millennial generation. Today’s 21-year-olds gaze upon 5-year-olds playing Pokémon with nostalgia, remembering the times when they had been engrossed in their own Pokémon games as a child.
Fast-forward to today, and the brand-new Pokémon Go, a smartphone game that can be downloaded directly onto your smartphone as an app, has just been released. Playing on the nostalgia of millennials, and implementing a neat new technological feature, Pokémon Go has easily become the latest craze of 2016.
HOW DOES THE GAME WORK?
Pokémon Go follows the same format as all of the other Pokémon games, based upon the storyline of the original TV series. The aim of the game is to travel around a virtual world and collect as many Pokémon (monsters who battle for you) as you can.
These Pokémon can be used to battle other Pokémon, who you can then catch once beaten. There are different types of Pokémon, who vary in strength. The stronger the Pokémon, the more battles you can win, and the more Pokémon you can catch.
HOW IT USES YOUR CAMERA
So what’s new about Pokémon Go? Why has it turned into a craze?
Well, Pokémon Go integrates augmented reality into the game. This means that the “virtual world” inside the game has been threaded with the “real world”.
Still confused? What this ultimately means is that the game uses the Camera feature on your phone, so that you’re able to see the “real world” through your phone screen. The game then plops a little Pokémon onto the screen, making it look like the Pokémon exists in the real world!
You can then catch these Pokémon by “throwing” the red Pokéballs at them on your phone. In the game, these Pokéballs are used to hold the Pokémon.
So if you happen to spot a Pokémon in your living room, you’ll be able to catch it right then and there!
HOW IT USES YOUR GPS LOCATION
Pokémon Go uses your GPS feature to track your current location on a map. This map will be your real-world map! You’ll be able to see various places and landmarks near you, which you’ll recognise. For instance, if you live near a park, you’ll be able to see it on your map on Pokémon Go.
Landmarks such as this are also cleverly integrated into the game. Some of these landmarks are marked on the Pokémon Go map as either Pokéstops or Gyms.
Pokéstops are areas which you can physically walk to (in the real world!) to stock up on more Pokéballs and eggs to hatch new Pokémon. Gyms, on the other hand, are places that you can travel to and take over through battle. All of this is achieved through GPS tracking on your phone.
You can also spot nearby Pokémon on your map, and physically walk to that location to catch them!
THE AFTERMATH OF THIS
There are many pros to Pokémon Go. It’s getting kids, teens, and young adults outside and active, scrambling to catch more Pokémon. Of course, this encourages exercise, which helps to improve fitness. It also gives them the opportunity to meet fellow players at nearby landmarks, make new friends, and socialise. To those of you who detest how video games always seem to keep kids locked in a trance indoors – this one does the opposite!
Of course, however, there are cons. For one, walking around outside with your nose in your phone can be terribly dangerous. Running into oncoming traffic while trying to catch a Pokémon can lead to disastrous consequences. There have even been reports of Pokémon appearing on train tracks!
But whether you love it or hate it, one thing’s for sure: Pokémon Go is taking over the world right now. If you’re curious to try it out yourself, just download it onto your smartphone. You can easily search for it in the App Store or Play Store, just like any other app.
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