Your Facebook feed has been taken over by Pokemon? Yea, mine too. Don’t know what the hell is it all about? Welcome to the club.
So I took it upon myself to decode these ‘peeckachus’ and let you in. Let’s call it the ‘Pokemon Go’ Guide for Dummies’, shall we?
It’s a Japanese creation, from the Pokemon franchise, developed by Niantic. It’s a free to play game, which uses augmented reality, and is available for both Android and iOS.
So what is it all about? Catching Pokemons! You have to capture, battle and train Pokemons who appear throughout the real world. Even on you legs sometimes! It uses GPS and camera in your phone to create a virtual world, very similar to the one you live in. So, when I turn it on, I see a map of my area, with blue and yellow sparkles, indicating where these cute little monsters are hiding. I need to walk up to it, throw balls at them until one manages to lock it in, and tap tap tap until they calm down.
There are a few different types of Pokemons, and they carry different points. The more points you have, the higher your level and accessibility to exclusive features.
It’s fascinating, fun and addictive. Terri Schwartz of IGN praised its effectiveness in promoting physical exercise. It makes you get out, and helps with social interactions (unlike many other mobile games).
On the flip side, many experts (including Mister) gets frustrated for it crashes frequently, and isn’t a very well designed game compared to other popular games in the industry.
The app has led players to congregate near strangers’ homes, as in the case when a Pokémon Gym was placed near a church converted to a house. Also, there were a few funky incidents reported around the USA – minor fall injuries and armed robberies. Also, residents of the Sydney suburb of Rhodes became fed up with large numbers of players gathering in their area, and threw water-bombs at visiting players. True story!
So, it is a bit of a nuisance if you aren’t part of this cult, but like any other trend, it will calm down in a few weeks. Until then, we might have to see people acting a tad bit weird, and losing weight while they are at it!