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Posted On: 17 July 2016 10:38 pm
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:16 pm

Pokemon Go, on a song

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You teach me and I'll teach you, pokemoooon!!!

True to its toe-tapping theme song, 'Pokemania', the big fad generated by the popularity of Pokemon, which took the world by storm during the late 90s, is making a bit of a comeback -- this time in an insanely interactive way -- through augmented reality where pocket monsters come to real life.

Augmented Reality - A technology that super imposes a computer-generated image or a user's view of the real world, thus providing a composite view.

With the accompaniment of modern smartphones, GPS and strong, sturdy legs (just to encourage trainers to get outdoors, move around and catch pokemons), an all-new circle of friends is just one pokestop away from becoming a reality.

Yes, it's like taking that sedentary video game outdoors!

1ssssss.jpgPokemon Go players check their smartphones as they look for Pokémon, at Bayfront Park in downtown Miami.

I wanna be the very best,

like no one ever was

To catch them is my real test,

to train them is my cause

Based on the premise of bug catching -- a popular hobby in Japan, the ultimate goal in the Pokemon games is to collect and train all those virtual creatures. The original pack of Pokemons began with 151 characters, but the catalogue, spin-offs and franchises has since expanded to more than 720. However, in Pokemon Go, only the original 151 are available.

After numerous movies (19 overall) and an anime series that is still being broadcast in various countries, Pokemon is without a doubt on top of the world. It might have flactuated for a few years but since 2016 marks its 20th anniversary, the Pokemania frenzy is definitely back and topping the charts!

The game has been a huge boost for Nintendo. The japanese company's first venture in mobile gaming brought market-value gains of $7.5 billion in just two days after the game's release!

1s.jpgA couple plays Pokémon Go on their smartphones outside of Nintendo's flagship store, in New York City, recently.

I will travel across the land,

searching far and wide

Each Pokemon to understand,

the power that's inside

Pokemon Go uses your phone's GPS and clock to detect where and when you are in the game and make pokemons 'appear' around you (or in your phone screen) so you can go and catch them. As you move around, different and more types of pokemons will appear depending on where you are and what time it is. The idea is to encourage you to travel around the real world to catch pokemons in the game.

So, how does the game work?

  • You walk around local landmarks (called Pokestops) where you can gather supplies like Pokeballs.
  • You then throw Pokeballs at online pokemons to capture them for training.
  • At separate locations called 'gyms' pokemons battle each other for supremacy.

Sounds cool? It really is! Imagine having the rare chance of multitasking gaming with fitness? The concept of the game is downright awesome! Though Niantic Lab had released the same format with 'Ingress' a few years ago, nothing beats the nostalgic feeling of cuddling your own cutie-patootie pocket monster as if they're your own!

Players also express joy for the game's 'surprisingly social aspect.' A recent news even reported that playing Pokemon Go is helping people with mental health issues feel better, with critics praising the people behind its success for coming up with the idea despite a quick surge in the number of social media and video games that seem to lack social interaction among users.

Because of the game's ability to gather people of the same prospect, every day chatter ranges from shouted pokemon sightings to consultations about where to recharge phone batteries.

The clamour then paved way for viral and witty memes that's been surfacing social media since last week.

1sss.jpgPeople play the augmented reality mobile game Pokémon Go by Nintendo in Bryant Park, New York City, recently.

Pokemon, (gotta catch them all) it's you and me

I know it's my destiny

Pokemon, oh, you're my best friend

In a world we must defend

Browsing all over the Net and watching really funny videos on BuzzFeed, it has dawned upon me that even the tamest pokemons might also grow some horn. Amid all the praises that Pokemon Go is getting, we still can't overlook the harm that this smash-hit pastime might give us, aside from consuming half our lives, of course.

There have been reports of robbery and minor injuries as Pokemon Go is so engaging that it can make the audience unaware of what's going arround them. According to Google Playstore, the game has officially become the most downloaded app since its release. And Twitter is reportedly endangered of becoming the second placer in terms of number of users.

Here are four of the most awkward and baffling consequences of having Pokemon Go on your smartphones:

  • On Wednesday, Germany became the first European country to finally acquire Pokemon Go but not everyone is happy. There have been protests and its arrival quickly came under fire, including from the Auschwitz museum in Poland, which asked the game's makers to block players at the former Nazi death camp out of respect for the dead.
  • An Australian expat in Singapore was fired after complaining in foul language on Facebook about the unavailability of Pokemon Go in the country, provoking a furious backlash.
  • The US Holocaust Memorial Museum and Arlington National Cemetery requested that smartphone users refrain from catching pokemon when they visit because officials say that playing the game inside a memorial to victims of Nazism is 'extremely inappropriate'.
  • Just recently, an American woman found a corpse instead of a water pokemon in Wyoming River. Police said that there's no apparent indication of foul play in the incident.

1ss.jpgThe augmented reality mobile game Pokémon Go by Nintendo is shown on a smartphone screen.

Pokemon, (gotta catch them all) a heart so true

Our courage will pull us through

You teach me and I'll teach you

(Po-ke-mon) Gotta catch 'em all

So, why is everybody (regardless of their age and size) going gaga over this new smartphone game? Can you state a specific and logical reason why your friend wakes up in the middle of the night to puposely catch a nocturnal pokemon? What is the scientific explanation behind pedestrians who just don't care when crossing the street that a truck might hit them as long as they will be able to seize Pidgey?

Besides the game being free for download, I believe that Pokemon Go somehow fulfils a fantasy fans have had since the games first came out: what if pokemons weren't limited to the game's world? What if pokemons were real and inhabited the actual world? What if we could all be Ash Ketchum who wanders the world in his quest to catch them all and earn his honours by defeating all the gym leaders?
Pokemon Go is an attempt at realising what fans always wanted from Pokemon.
On that note, the creators are apparently victorious. They are able to flawlessly incorporate the virtual world with contemporary reality while carefully rendering the extra benefit of hitting a sweet spot of nostalgia among its users, helping boost its popularity.
1sssss.jpgA group of friends search for Pokémon on the top of Mount Eden, in Auckland, New Zealand.

Every challenge along the way

With courage I will face

I will battle every day

To claim my rightful place

So what's next? A live action movie, perhaps? Well, our wish has just been granted! Although plans appear to be in the very early stages, Deadline is reporting that Legendary Pictures is looking into developing one. Reports confirmed that fans can expect the movie by early 2017.
Then there's Pokemon Go Plus, a Bluetooth low-energy wearable device that allows the player to walk without looking at their smart device (another fantasy fulfilled). The upgraded game version will be available alongside Pokemon Go before the current month ends.
In Qatar, where reviews are so far polarised, the game is also set to gain popularity despite the hot weather, which can be a big hindrance among locals and expats who are dying to play the game outside their fully-airconditioned abodes. Users are able to download the (still) unavailable talk-of-the town game by changing their phone's region settings as if they are registered in the US, Oz or NZ or by creating new iTunes accounts.
Besides its actual social benefits, Niantic Lab also plans to sponsor locations for Pokemon Go in the future, meaning we will literally see Pikachu, Bulbasaur and Squirtle everywhere!
By the time that happens, planet Earth should have already been renamed.
From planet Earth to planet Pikachu? Why not!
So what are your thoughts on Pokemon Go? Do you think Qatar will be able to cope with the worldwide hype the game is currently creating?
Drop your comments below and get those pokeballs rolling!