What Is Pokémon GO And Why Is Everyone Talking About It?
If you’re a 90s kid, you’ll immediately jump with joy on reading the word “Pokémon”. I remember trying to beat the crap out of my brother’s Charmander with my Pikachu on our Gameboy back in the day. Well, guess what? The game of our heady childhood is back with a bang and it’s hard to miss all the talk around it currently.
Pokémon GO, an augmented reality gaming app by Nintendo, launched only last week and it’s already become a viral sensation on American shores. So much so, that it is already bigger than Tinder in terms of audience size and far more engaged in terms of daily active users as compared to Twitter! Don’t believe us? See this for proof.
Clearly, a majority of Pokémon fans are now adults and this is the perfect excuse to stop adulting!
Here’s how Pokémon GO works: The app is free to download, and detects your location and time using GPS when you are in the game. Depending on your coordinates, it will then make Pokémon appear on your phone as you move around in the real world. The idea is to move around and catch them (virtually, of course) and train them to be badass fighters. There around 150 different creatures up for grabs, and you get a notification on the app whenever a creature is detected near you. You then release your Poké Ball to catch it. Simple? Yes. Addictive? Hell, yes!
Once you’ve caught your first Pokémon with the help of the handsome Professor Willow, you get to style your character. You’re a trainer now and you’ve got to look the part, right? There are also specific real-world locations marked as PokéStops in your in-game map, where you can get Poké Balls to boost your game or eggs that hatch into full Pokémon. The game also has a store where you can buy items that can lure Pokémon. For now, you don’t get to battle with friends or trade Pokémon like you did in the original game, but those features will be added soon as suggested by a teaser the company released earlier.
Since this is a virtual reality game, it will make you do a lot of work to play it. The main motive is to make fans step outside in the real world in search of Pokémon, just like star trainer Ash Ketchum did in the original TV series. So don’t be surprised if you see people scurrying around you looking under desks or climbing walls searching for imaginary creatures (once the game is legally released in India, that is)!
Interestingly, the game has also been caught in a frenzy of negative press since launching on July 8. First, there was the story of a young girl who accidentally stumbled upon a dead body near a river while searching for a water Pokémon. Then there was the story of a man’s home in Massachusetts being mistakenly marked as a Pokémon gym and gamers flooding outside his home looking to find some little creatures. Then, scarily enough, was the story about how armed robbers were using the game to lure gamers into isolated spaces.
However, regardless of these stories, gamers are continuing to take to the app in massive numbers. While the app is currently available only in the US, Australia, and New Zealand, here’s how you can download it if you’re in India. Bear in mind that this jailbreak version is for Android devices only and doesn’t work as well as it should, so you’ll have to patiently wait till next month for the official worldwide release.
But why exactly does this augmented reality game have the world and its sister in such a tizzy? Because for a lot of us fans it fulfills a childhood fantasy of imagining a world where Pokémon are real and inhabit our surroundings — just like they did in the old game. That, and the fact that the real world can sometimes be boring and there’s nothing like an exciting escape from real life, even if it’s to play an imaginary game of catch with adorable-looking monsters!