Pokemon Go: Gotta Catch Em All!
Is your family wandering the streets looking for Pokemon too?
Don’t worry, if they’re not, they soon will be thanks to the new app that is driving the world crazy. Pokemon Go has taken the world by storm and my family is no exception.
If your kids have ever played Pokemon and wished they could actually be IN the game and travel to find and capture all the Pokemon, their wish has been granted! This new app takes you inside the game and you are a Pokemon trainer.
My kids have been walking and riding their scooters all over town looking for Pokemon. Yesterday, two of my kids walked for over an hour trying to catch Pokemon. Yesterday, my daughter went to a local church, which according to the game is a “gym” (for those unaware, it’s where you battle other Pokemon trainers).
I swear, my kids have walked more in the last few days since getting this app, than they have the last few months combined. And that’s saying something, because we generally take our dogs for walks at least twice a day.
So, what exactly is Pokemon Go?
So why are people seeking out virtual creatures while at work and as they go to the bathroom? Part of the reason Pokémon Go is popular is that it’s free, so it’s easy to download and play. But more importantly, Pokémon Go fulfills a fantasy Pokémon fans have had since the games first came out: What if Pokémon were real and inhabited our world? But to understand why people are so enthusiastic about the idea, we first need to go back to the late 1990s — to the original Pokémon games.
Pokémon Go is an attempt at realizing what fans always wanted from Pokémon.
The Pokémon games take place in a world populated by exotic, powerful monsters — they can look like rats, snakes, dragons, dinosaurs, birds, eggs, trees, and even swords. In this world, people called “trainers” travel around the globe to tame these creatures and, in an ethically questionable manner, use them to fight against each other.
Based on the premise of bug catching — a popular hobby in Japan, where the games originated — the big goal in the Pokémon games, from the original Pokémon Red and Blue to the upcoming Pokémon Sun and Moon, is to collect all of these virtual creatures.
The first generation of Pokémon games began with 151 creatures, but the catalog has since expanded to more than 720. In Pokémon Go, only the original 151 are available.
The games took the world by storm in the late 1990s — a big fad widely known as “Pokémania.” The original handheld games, Pokémon Red and Blue, came out in 1998 in America, followed by Yellow in 1999 and Gold and Silver in 2000. With the games came spinoffs like Pokémon Snap and Pokémon Pinball in 1999, a popular TV show, movies, trading cards, and a lot of other merchandise. For a few years, Pokémon was on top of the world. (The franchise is still fairly big; it’s just not the cultural phenomenon that it once was.)
But since the games came out for Nintendo’s handheld consoles, fans all around the world have shared a dream: What if Pokémon weren’t limited to the games’ world? What if they were real and inhabited our world? What if we could all be Ash Ketchum, the TV show’s star trainer, who wanders the world in his quest to catch them all and earn his honors by defeating all the gym leaders? I want a Pikachu in real life, dammit!
Unfortunately, Pokémon aren’t real — at least not yet. But technology has evolved to be able to simulate a world in which Pokémon are real. That’s essentially what Pokémon Go attempts to do: By using your phone’s ability to track the time and your location, the game imitates what it would be like if Pokémon really were roaming around you at all times, ready to be caught and collected. And given that many original Pokémon fans are now adults, this idea has the extra benefit of hitting a sweet spot of nostalgia, helping boost its popularity.
People all over the world have caught the fever. Finally, we’re all Ash Ketchum!
How popular is this game? It’s added an estimated $8 billion to Nintendo’s market value since it’s release about a week ago. Let that sink in.
So when you see people wandering around staring at their phones, they may not be texting or reading the latest internet gossip. They could be hunting Pokémon! These creatures could be on their office desks, restaurants and even in police stations.
All of this hasn’t just been fun and games. In a horrific twist, one teenage girl found an actual dead body while looking for Pokémon. Police in Missouri claimed that four suspected robbers lured in victims with the possibility of catching Pokémon.
Be careful out there, friends. Stay in groups while hunting your Pokemon and be alert to your surroundings.
Most of all … have fun!