Even if you’ve been living under a rock I bet you’ve still heard of Pokémon. In 96 when the first two games were brought over from Japan nobody then could have imagined the unmitigated success they would become. The franchise grew from its initial offerings of red and blue Gameboy cartridges to over 122 games not including the card game (which was really big in the late 90s and early 2000s), the TV show, the movies, and the comics. An entire generation grew up with this fictional universe and despite going to school and starting families, they still continue to love it. In fact, the most recent Pokémon Gameboy game actually set sales records for the franchise. I guess the older fans have been busy introducing the next generation to their beloved pastime.
Now, there’s a new game on the block and everyone seems to be into it. I’m of course talking about, Pokémon Go.
On the surface Pokémon Go is pretty simple. It’s basically little more than a program that overlays onto of your phone’s camera and GPS. As you walk around the game will propagate the world with Pokémon you can catch by looking at them with the camera and throwing pokeballs at them. This experience mirrors what you actually do in the games for the most part and fans are excited to finally have the chance to hunt Pokémon in the real world. Of course there’s more to it. The game uses your GPS data and internal clock to determine what kind of Pokémon will show up and where. On top of that there’s an in game community ranking system that keeps track of your progress. As far as combat goes, well…it kind of doesn’t exist, at least not yet. There really aren’t battles in the traditional sense, just stat comparisons and unfortunately trading your Pokémon isn’t a part of the game either.
Really, Pokémon Go is more a proof of concept for future augmented reality games. This kind of experimentation is nothing new for Nintendo who has been exploring and pushing the bounds of merging the real world and their fictional ones ever since they installed microphones in Famicom controllers back in 86.
At any rate poke’fever has returned with a vengeance and people just can’t help but post their favorite screen-caps online. Gotta check’em all…out.
So there you have it, Pokémon Go in a nutshell. Oh, and in case you were wondering it’s pronounced poh-kee-mon not poh-kee-man. It’s actually a combination of the words Pocket and Monster.