“If you want to hide your age, or at least appear as the cool, fun parent … you need to know about Pokémon GO.”
Having to de-mystify the biggest mobile game in history sounds absurd, and yet there has never been a phenomenon since Snapchat that so clearly demarcates generations. At nearly 100 million downloads, Pokémon GO (aka PoGo) needs no introduction; but for millions of non-millennials, it needs a lot of explanation. There is a massive divide between ‘the knows’ and ‘the know-nots’. If you want to hide your age, or at least appear as the cool, fun parent, here’s what you need to know about PoGo
“A Pokémon is a “Pocket Monster” – an animal like creature that fights but can also be caught, stuffed into a ball, and put into your pocket"
The cartoon, the myth, and now, the legend
PoGo, an augmented reality game with 2D animation, is an evolution of the original Pokémon cartoon and game series. Wildly popular since it first ran in 1997, it is a world like Harry Potter, with hundreds of characters, magical powers and its own version of Mickey Mouse. A Pokémon is a “Pocket Monster” – an animal like creature that fights but can also be caught, stuffed into a ball, and put into your pocket. In the cartoon series, Ash, the main character leaves home to seek his fortunes as a Pokémon monster. He heads out into the wild, to capture them, train them and build them into fighting machines.
“Pokémon never die, the game is odd, even paradoxical at times, but it’s not sadistic.”
How to Play Pokémon
In PoGo, Pokémon tend to spawn at and can be lured to (with in-app purchases of course) a Pokéstop. It’s also a spot where players can check in every five minutes to pick up items that can help capture, train and heal their Pokémon. There are currently 250 types of Pokémon, more rumored to be coming … and the games credo is "catch 'em all". Players train Pokémon by making them fight other Pokémon in Pokégyms. A winning Pokémon becomes stronger, increasing combat points; a losing Pokémon faints. Pokémon never die, the game is odd, even paradoxical at times, but it’s not sadistic.
“Pokémon teaches coopetition – achieving personal success in a competitive environment through cooperation. It is a virtual reflection of the social construct that underpins the evolutionary success of our species.”
The game that became a sport, and soon … a therapy?
PoGo is the first major hit that requires mobile gamers to explore their physical world. This happens through augmented reality. Superimposed on a flattened version of Google Maps are the Pokéstops and Pokégyms. To interact with the animated Pokémon, a player must be within 10 meters. PoGo uses the GPS location on a smartphone to unlock these game elements. As such, PoGo has health, safety and fitness implications for parents, lawmakers, even therapists.
PoGo also puts players in teams that work together and fight for control over Pokégyms. This is another ground-breaking feature of PoGo. Mass multi-player online games have existed for over a decade. But PoGo is the first mass multi-player offline game. Players physically meet and play together. They will share the cost of lures, rejoice when a fellow wannabe Master encounters a rare Pokémon, and fight together to defend a gym for their team. Pokémon GO teaches coopetition – achieving personal success in a competitive environment through cooperation. It is a virtual reflection of the social construct that underpins the evolutionary success of our species.
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