If you regularly surf the web, you’ll have definitely heard about this. I can’t even scroll two minutes through Facebook without seeing at least one mention of it.

On the other hand, if you’re not the type to frequent social media, you might have suddenly noticed something odd about the millennial generation these days: they’re actually going outside! They’re walking, they’re running about, and they’re finally getting some sun – but they’ve still got their faces buried their phones. If you’re finding yourself confused about this sudden shift in observed behaviour, there’s a very simple explanation: Pokémon Go.

WHAT IS IT?

For those of you who don’t know, Pokémon is an extremely popular Japanese anime (or cartoon) series. Due to its incredible popularity, Pokémon has been releasing a series of video games ever since 1996, which has proven to be even more popular than the original TV series. These video games not only skyrocketed the Pokémon series into universal recognition, but have planted themselves firmly in the childhood memories of many of the millennial generation. Today’s 21-year-olds gaze upon 5-year-olds playing Pokémon with nostalgia, remembering the times when they had been engrossed in their own Pokémon games as a child.

Fast-forward to today, and the brand-new Pokémon Go, a smartphone game that can be downloaded directly onto your smartphone as an app, has just been released. Playing on the nostalgia of millennials, and implementing a neat new technological feature, Pokémon Go has easily become the latest craze of 2016.

HOW DOES THE GAME WORK?

Pokémon Go follows the same format as all of the other Pokémon games, based upon the storyline of the original TV series. The aim of the game is to travel around a virtual world and collect as many Pokémon (monsters who battle for you) as you can.

These Pokémon can be used to battle other Pokémon, who you can then catch once beaten. There are different types of Pokémon, who vary in strength. The stronger the Pokémon, the more battles you can win, and the more Pokémon you can catch.

HOW IT USES YOUR CAMERA

So what’s new about Pokémon Go? Why has it turned into a craze?

Well, Pokémon Go integrates augmented reality into the game. This means that the “virtual world” inside the game has been threaded with the “real world”.

Still confused? What this ultimately means is that the game uses the Camera feature on your phone, so that you’re able to see the “real world” through your phone screen. The game then plops a little Pokémon onto the screen, making it look like the Pokémon exists in the real world!

You can then catch these Pokémon by “throwing” the red Pokéballs at them on your phone. In the game, these Pokéballs are used to hold the Pokémon.So if you happen to spot a Pokémon in your living room, you’ll be able to catch it right then and there!

HOW IT USES YOUR GPS LOCATION

Pokémon Go uses your GPS feature to track your current location on a map. This map will be your real-world map! You’ll be able to see various places and landmarks near you, which you’ll recognise. For instance, if you live near a park, you’ll be able to see it on your map on Pokémon Go.

Landmarks such as this are also cleverly integrated into the game. Some of these landmarks are marked on the Pokémon Go map as either Pokéstops or Gyms.

Pokéstops are areas which you can physically walk to (in the real world!) to stock up on more Pokéballs and eggs to hatch new Pokémon. Gyms, on the other hand, are places that you can travel to and take over through battle. All of this is achieved through GPS tracking on your phone.

You can also spot nearby Pokémon on your map, and physically walk to that location to catch them!

THE AFTERMATH OF THIS

There are many pros to Pokémon Go. It’s getting kids, teens, and young adults outside and active, scrambling to catch more Pokémon. Of course, this encourages exercise, which helps to improve fitness. It also gives them the opportunity to meet fellow players at nearby landmarks, make new friends, and socialise. To those of you who detest how video games always seem to keep kids locked in a trance indoors – this one does the opposite!

Of course, however, there are cons. For one, walking around outside with your nose in your phone can be terribly dangerous. Running into oncoming traffic while trying to catch a Pokémon can lead to disastrous consequences. There have even been reports of Pokémon appearing on train tracks!

But whether you love it or hate it, one thing’s for sure: Pokémon Go is taking over the world right now. If you’re curious to try it out yourself, just download it onto your smartphone. You can easily search for it in the App Store or Play Store, just like any other app.

SHARE your thoughts with us in the comments below.

  • We’ve had people driving around the neighbourhood, pulling into driveways and then leaving. It’s very suspicious activity and could get someone hurt. It’s still not getting people playing it actually interacting with people. To me it can be a very dangerous game to get hooked into.

    Reply

  • This craze is just stupid – the amount of hurt people following this game is just ridiculous.

    Reply

  • Thanks for demystifying this craze. The health journals echo the sentiments above.

    Reply

  • I didn’t know much about it, thanks for the update.

    Reply

  • So pleased this craze is dying down ..personally I feel it is crazy and causing way to much congestion and can be very dangerous with many people watching their phones and not the roads ect.

    Reply

  • Thankfully, I’ve managed to avoid this craze. My teen son is not interested, which I applaud. I don’t understand the sense of it, the craziness of people blocking roads, acting irrationally and recklessly, without care or fare for others. Pokemon is the big winner here. I hope a new craze starts soon, but I now worry that this will be the new way of things.

    Reply

  • I just don’t get this game, not for me. A couple of accidents have made the news due to people playing this game. I suppose if it’s getting people mobile,maps long as they do it safely, it’s gotta be a good thing

    Reply

  • I cannot believe how many people are doing this! They must be making millions! Great marketing.

    Reply

  • not my cup of tea but each to their own.

    Reply

  • I’ve seen it on the television and read about it, but have not actually seen hurds of people in real life doing this and also not any mentioning of it on Facebook. It’s not my thing and I asked my son not to play it as it uses your location.

    Reply

  • wow it’s amazing how many people I have nearly hit because they are too busy looking at their phone rather than concentrating on the world around them! – it’s great to see families doing this as an activity together, but I do hope they are being safe and sensible.

    I’ve heard stories of people breaking into construction sites to get these characters – I wonder if pokemon go will cover their court case!


    • It will be interesting to watch and see how it goes, possibly this will occur!

    Reply

  • It’s not my thing but I know a few people doing it. Including adults

    Reply

  • Not for us – but many people are into this current craze/fad.

    Reply

  • This is interesting but not something I’d be into.

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  • My husband downloaded the app onto his iPhone so my daughter can use it. I am absolutely not into it, but my daughter loves Pokemons so she immediately wanted to try it out. I like the fact that she is now the one asking to go out for a walk because she has to catch some Pokemons! :-)
    I found a little bit “weird” to see entire crowds of Pokemon fans searching along the foreshore. For sure this app it’s getting people outside. :-)

    Reply

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