Have you joined the Pokemon Craze?
Have you seen a lot of people holding a phone with their head down (assumingly glued to the screen) and wandering around the streets, on roads, in a gym or even in a church? If yes, are you at least a little curious about it? What is going on? The answer is: Pokémon Go.
Pokémon Go is an Augmented Reality (AR) smartphone game utilising the location based services, developed by Niantic and published in early July of 2016 by The Pokémon Company. The game was first released in Australia and New Zealand on 5th of July 2016, and released in the United States the day after. It caught millions of Pokémon fans’ eyes worldwide in no time at all. It is estimated to have 7.5 million downloads within the first week of its release. This number will sky rocket again once Pokémon Go is released in other countries and regions.
What is Pokemon Go?
To gain a full understanding of how Pokémon Go went viral over the Internet in such a short time frame, you have to trace back to around 1997 when the first Pokémon anime came out. The anime is about how Ash, the central character in the anime, becomes a well-known Pokémon master from a Pokémon trainer in a small town. During the journey Ash meets different people, collects and trains Pokémon for battling, and also experiences many other interesting things along the way. Because of the anime, it started attracting a huge number of kids and teens all over the world at an incredible speed. After that, more Pokémon-related products came out, including games, cards, toys and apparels etc., the number of fans simply grew at an astonishing rate.
And now Pokémon Go has been released after decades of waiting by eager fans around the world.
It is a must-play game for Pokémon fans as it realises the childhood dream that we want to catch and foster Pokémon in real life.
How is it different from other Pokemon games?
Pokémon Go is a GPS dependent and augmented reality game, which engages players to move physically in the real world to search for Pokémon. In addition, varieties of Pokémon also rely on geo-locations. For instance, to catch water Pokémon, players are supposed to walk near a body of water, such as an ocean, a river or a lake. If you walk past a forest or a garden, you are very likely to capture bug or grass types. Once a Pokémon appears, just click it, it brings up a screen as in Figure 4 and turns on your device camera. To catch a Pokémon, you just need to use your finger tip to flick Pokémon balls towards the Pokémon. Once the ball hits it, the Pokémon can be encapsulated (figure 5). It is fairly easy, but keep in mind that Pokémon might escape so you might have to capture them multiple times.
Want to know more?
You should now have a basic idea of what Pokémon Go is. Let’s now dive in a bit deeper.
A Pokestop. Players need to walk up to it and tap to interact. In a Pokestop, players can collect Pokémon balls and other supplies such as:
- Egg: contains Pokémon. You need to put it into an incubator and walk a certain distance to hatch it.
- Potion: restores 20 HP for Pokémon injured in gym battles.
- Super potion: restores 50 HP for injured Pokémon.
- Hyper potion: restores 200 HP for injured Pokémon.
- Revive: revives a fainted Pokémon and restore half of its total HP.
- Great ball: Obtained when a player’s level reaches 12. It has a higher capture rate than a normal Pokémon ball.
- Ultra ball: unlocks at level 20 and has a higher capture rate than a Great ball.
- Master ball: unlock level is unknown. It has the highest capture rate.
- Incense: attracts Pokémon to your location for 30 minutes and only works for the user.
- Lucky egg: doubles your XP within the next 30 minutes.
- Lure module: can only be used at a Pokestop and benefits all nearby players.
- Incubator: used to incubate and hatch an egg.
A gym where players gather together and battle. To interact with it, you need to approach and tap it. Pokémon Go gyms have four different colours. Yellow / blue / red represent three rival Pokémon teams (a player can choose a team at level 5), and a gym coloured sliver is an empty gym.
Claim a gym: Whenever a gym is empty, you can assign one Pokémon to claim the ownership.
- Battle a gym: To take over an unfriendly gym, you have to defeat the defending team and bring down their prestige level to zero. Every time gym challengers win a battle, the prestige level gets lower. Prestige level is used to determine the gym level. When it gets to zero, the gym becomes an empty gym.
Defend a gym: It works same as battling a gym but in a defending manner. When gym defenders win a battle, the gym prestige get higher and the gym will levels up when the prestige level reaches a certain point. The higher level a gym gets, the more Pokémon can be assigned into the gym.
- Train at a gym: To train your Pokémon you need to go to a friendly gym (i.e. a gym of your colour). One of the major differences between battling and training is that a gym challenger can use up to 6 Pokémon while a gym trainee can use only one. If the trainee succeeds in defeating a friendly gym, he/she can gain XP and also help the gym to level up quickly.
- Drains mobile phone battery
- Data consuming
- You cannot run it in the background
- No player battle
- There are only a few activities other than gym battling and Pokémon collecting at this stage
- Many known bugs awaiting to be fixed
Bonus: Only for Pikachu Lovers
For those who haven’t started Pokémon Go and are about to, if you love Pikachu, then you must read this.
When starting Pokémon Go, it asks you to choose one out of three Pokémon as your starter Pokémon: Charmander, Squirtle and Bulbasaur. Where is the Pikachu!!!! Don’t panic, all you need to do is reject the selection three (3) times, and eventually you will be presented with a fourth Pokémon: Pikachu. This is just like what is in the Pokémon anime.
If you are a Pokémon fan, you will undoubtedly love it and will be playing until you collect all Pokémon. In my opinion, it is not just a mobile AR game that realises my childhood dream of becoming a Pokémon master but also it is a fitness app to some extent. Most of the activities in Pokémon Go require players to physically participate like walking/jogging 5km/10km to hatch a Pokémon egg, walking around your area to search for supplies or for battling.
Lastly, just enjoy the game, just be safe while you’re playing!!!