I’m not sure what’s more common these days. People asking “What is Pokemon Go?” or people playing the game. I first saw the game while in line at Cedar Point last weekend. A couple in front of me had their phones out and were scanning the areas around them. They were smiling, laughing, and swiping their screens. I was intrigued but wasn’t sure what they were doing. When I got home everywhere I looked people were doing the same and I learned they were playing Pokemon Go.
What Is Pokemon Go?
Pokemon Go is an app based on animated characters that have become pop culture icons. Did you know Pokemon stands for Pocket Monster? The characters got their start in a pair of video games for the Nintendo Game Boy. The franchise now includes video games, trading card games, animated television shows and movies, toys, and more.
The Pokemon Go app is free and available for iPhone and Android devices. It’s genre is Real World Adventure – that’s a fitting and perfect category name. When you download the game it uses your GPS to created an animated map of your surroundings.
It also uses your phone’s camera to find Pokemon in the real world. This is called augmented reality. It superimposes an animated character on your phone screen but you can still see through your camera lens.
As you can see he’s not really there, but superimposed on the screen. It’s very much like the yellow first down line in televised NFL football games – this was actually one of the very first uses of augmented reality.
There are hundreds of Pokemon characters hiding around the world and you have to walk around to find them. When you get near them they appear on your phone screen.
What Are Poke Balls?
You “catch” Pokemon by throwing virtual Pokeballs at them by swiping or flicking your finger. Sometimes it’s easy to catch them other times it’s harder. When you catch them, they go into your collection and you are awarded points or other goodies.
What Are PokeStops?
PokeStops are usually destinations in the real world. PokeStops are located at points of interest such as landmarks, historical markers, monuments, tourist spots etc. You get more Poke Balls and other items at a PokeStop.
At Pokestops you can also get eggs, which are unhatched Pokemon. In order to hatch them, you have to walk 5 kilometers, 10 kilometers.
What Are Gyms?
There are also real world locations marked as Pokemon Gyms. Once you’ve played long enough you’ll get asked to join a team. Then you’ll want to find a Pokemon Gym. These are places where your team’s Pokemon can fight another team’s Pokemon. If you win, you get control of the gym.
Pokemon Go is the new craze and you are sure to see people walking around looking at their phones, smiling, laughing, and swiping. While it’s a fun game, it’s also a great way to get some extra exercise. While out looking for Pokemon and Pokestops and trying to hatch eggs you are having so much fun you don’t even know you are exercising!
This app is pretty revolutionary and I can’t wait to see what other apps it inspires in the future.