Going Big and Going Places: Pokemon Go
Once again, Pokemon are everywhere, and it almost feels like we’re back in 1996. But this time around, people aren’t on their GameBoys, but instead on their smartphones, and Pikachu and company are almost literally in our homes, and on our lawns, streets, schools, offices, monuments, beaches, forests – and like I said, everywhere. It’s impossible to not know about this Poke-phenomenon that is almost as rampant as its first outing. Do I even have to say what it is? You’ve been wishing for something like this since your childhood, and have been waiting for it since its announcement. It’s Pokemon Go, of course!
Gotta Go Out and Catch ‘em All
Pokemon Go is an augmented reality game from Nintendo and Niantic, the company that is also behind another augmented reality game called Ingress. So, what does an augmented reality Pokemon game look like? Augmented reality is the alteration of the viewing of real-world via devices. That means you’d see what you normally would in real life; it’s just that the device adds a digitally-generated image to it, making it seem as if the object is interacting with the real world. And in the case of Pokemon Go, the game lets you find and catch Pokemon in the real world by viewing it via the game.
It even goes beyond that, as the game requires GPS to be turned on to be played because it uses actual geographical locations as the map, and getting around it requires you to actually move. In fact, that’s the main goal of the game: for players to get off their lazy behinds and walk around their neighborhood to catch Pokemon. The game even encourages players to go even farther, as developers have intended for certain Pokemon to be limited to particular areas and landmarks, making you embark on your own Pokemon adventure, just like what protagonists do in every mainline Pokemon game.
Battling, Gym, and Trading
While the game is mostly centered on capturing Pokemon, battling is also an important part of it. Unlike the mainline games, however, there are no random encounters for your Pokemon, and the battles aren’t decided via stats. Instead, players challenge other players in gyms, just like in the Pokemon games, and it’s where Pokemon and trainers level up. Players can hold on to vacant gyms and leave a Pokemon there to be challenged by other players. The more a trainer’s Pokemon wins, the more perks the stronger that gym becomes, allowing the trainer to put even more Pokemon on it. And for those who want to trade Pokemon, then good news – Nintendo will be adding trading as a feature in the near-future, so you and your friends can start exchanging Pokemon and scratching each other’s backs.
Pokemon Go! Where? When?
As of now, the servers have already been opened for quite some time, and the game has been officially released in only a handful of countries: Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and the US. Other countries can also get access to the game, but they will have to resort to workarounds, as the game isn’t available yet in their region’s Google Play and App Store. That’s okay though, because soon enough the game will be launched all over the world, and everyone will be in on the Pokemon-catching fun.
Pokemon Go is the closest we can get to real-life Pokemon. Until these superpowered companions become real, this is the next best thing, and so far it’s been pretty awesome. It’s not perfect, but it does its best in capturing what being in the Pokemon world would feel like, and it’s quite faithful to the franchise. So, what are you waiting for? Give being the best a go.