The mania surrounding everything Pokemon-related has hardly ever died, but with the release of the coveted Pokemon Go last week, the popularity of Nintendo’s precious intellectual property skyrocketed.
So many people have been trying to play the game for the past few days that Niantic’s servers have been experiencing serious outages on a daily basis, which has sadly hindered the global release of the augmented reality game.
Pokemon Go is a free-to-play game, developed by Niantic solely for Android and iOS devices. You may remember the name of this developer from another augmented reality title — Ingress. Basically, events and objects in the game have their own location within our physical world. In order to reach them, you actually need to leave your home or office and travel to a specific place. You look at the world through your phone’s display; a simple viewfinder feed from your camera mixes the reality around you with 3D objects drawn on top. Hence the term “augmented reality”.
In the case of Pokemon Go, the objects are the well-known creatures. You take the role of an up-and-coming Trainer and, as we all know, your first task is to catch as many as you can. Different Pokemon can be found in different geographical areas — water-type Pokemon, for example, are found near seas and rivers. This encourages the user to explore different commutes or hike regions in their town, as well as trading between players.
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There are three aspects to Pokemon Go – collecting and raising your own Pokemon critters, trading with other players, and a competitive aspect where you put your Pokemon against other players’ Pokemon.
Walking around all day with the phone up to your eyes, looking for the next Pokemon to catch is a viable option; it certainly isn’t the best one. Don’t worry, though, your phone will vibrate with a notification every time there is a Pokemon near you, so you don’t miss it. Additionally, there will be an official Pokemon Go wrist device in the future (around $35), which will pair with players’ smartphones via Bluetooth and make game world interactions easier.