What is Pokémon Go and why should I care?

July 15, 2016 Published by

What is Pokemon and Pokemon Go?

pokemon-go-in-gameYou may recall back in the 90’s that Pokémon was everywhere and if you are not entirely sure of what Pokémon is then take a few moments to check out this concise parents guide to Pokémon for a quick introduction

Let me begin by saying that even though I’m now 25, the re-introduction of Pokémon is something me and my friends have welcomed with open arms so we can reminisce in the 'good old days' . I recall tuning in every morning to watch the show before going to school and collecting hordes of cards to complete my collection, which for many fans like myself could range any where from a couple of hundred to thousands of cards, which in turn, has been collecting dust over the past decade.

But fast forward to 2016,  we may not be playing and collecting these cards anymore, but the release of Pokémon Go has taken mobile gaming to a whole new level by immersing us into an augmented reality so that we're actually able to experience becoming Pokémon trainers.

Pokémon Go itself is an augmented reality game, which merges elements of virtual play into your physical surroundings. By doing so, the game allows you to interact, catch and train Pokémon as they appear on your phone screen.

What a time to be alive right? From following the animated series some 15 years ago on our TV screens, we’re now able to experience becoming a Pokémon trainer first hand with our tablets and phones.

How big of a deal is Pokémon Go?

Well for fans of the show and even those who aren’t all too familiar with Pokémon, It’s a huge deal.

You see Pokémon games alone have always been exclusive to the Nintendo brand and platform when it came to gaming, now with the near worldwide release of Pokémon Go (now available in the UK) the game is available to download as a freemium* app on both Android and iOS devices.

So not only is it free-to-play, all you need to play is a compatible mobile device, meaning Pokémon Go is no longer restricted to a few Nintendo gaming consoles, but now hundreds of mobile devices possessed by millions across the world.

Take a look at the impact it has had in its first week alone in comparison to Twitter and Facebook!

 

* - Freemium apps are those which are free to download and use, however additional (but not always compulsory) features require in-app purchasing.  


 

 

Pokémon to Go or to Stay?

While I have been eagerly anticipating the release of Pokémon and am actively using it on a daily basis, it is a little early to tell how far this app can go, but I’d say based on the app’s performance over the past week, The Pokémon Company is here to stay for while yet and have announced Trading Pokemon with other trainers as an upcoming feature.

I wouldn’t go as far as to say I’m experiencing a second childhood, but it is definitely a great feeling of nostalgia which I am able to discuss with friends and colleagues alike and it is a great time-killer too!

Pokemon Go has been a huge hit across the world and is evident by these tweets from fellow Pokémon trainers across the globe.

What is there to do in Pokémon Go?

pokemon-go-drowzee-fundamentally-children-first-impressionsOnce you’re signed up and have initially created your character and selected your first Pokémon to use, you are able to immediately view a real-time virtual map based on Google Maps and your surroundings which notifies you of nearby Pokémon to interact with, Pokéstops to collect free swag from and gyms to train and challenge others.

Yes, it’s easy to get side-tracked with Pokémon go as many players have ended up walking further than they usually have or even to places they usually wouldn’t walk to, all in order to find new Pokémon and items to level up.

In fact, just this morning as I was leaving the coffee shop, my phone alerted me of the presence of a nearby ‘Drowzee’, which I was able to capture.

The Pokémon no-Go

While Pokémon Go has launched to great acclaim, there have been some reports of people being immersed to the point where they have been playing the game whilst driving and crashing into trees!

pokemon-go-loading-screen-fundamentally-children-first-impressionsSome of these reports like the one mentioned above are completely avoidable. As you load the app, the game clearly informs all users to pay attention to their surroundings to ensure their safety, so if you are currently using the app or considering downloading it, please DO consider your surroundings and only use the app in safe locations during safe periods.

Now whilst for me and my peers, this app is great for getting about and experiencing nostalgia. I also realise that it is important to note that children are also part of Pokémon Go’s demographic, so I cannot stress how crucial it is for children to be made aware of potential risks as a result of playing the game.

This concern is also echoed by the NSPCC who do not believe it provides enough safety measures to keep children protected, so they have created this Parents Guide to Pokémon Go, which will help parents understand what the game is about and the risks to be aware of to ensure that children are able to enjoy the game safely.

Despite fears, I personally do not think children should be banned from playing the game to eliminate the potential risks because to be honest with you, the game does offer them the opportunity to become more interested in going outdoors and getting active, and provided they are within safe locations and/ or under supervision, they can come across some pretty interesting locations in their own towns which they would not have otherwise visited. 

I remember when I was in year seven, we would go on a town-trail throughout St Albans exploring the Roman Ruins. Now whilst it is great to see remnants of history in your home-town, I am sure I would have been much more invested in learning about the town's history back then if I were to come across a Pikachu on Watling Street or learn about the history of the clock tower whilst picking up items from the nearby Pokéstop, eagerly anticipating to visit the next one. 

There definitely are learning opportunities and life lessons which can be introduced alongside playing the game, for example, this mother who was elated to see the reaction of her child with autism when playing the game, it also offers a fantastic opportunity to help your child understand the importance of personal safety, but it is equally important for parents to explain these to them so they are aware. 

 

I hope this has answered your question in regards to what Pokémon Go is and whether you should care about it. We will be reviewing the app soon, so keep your eyes peeled!

We’d love to hear your reactions and thoughts on the launch of Pokémon Go, so please do share them with us in the comments box below!

 


Photo Credit: Pokémon Go by Eduard Woo licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

 

 

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This post was written by Oomar Mauthoor

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