Entertainment phenomenons don’t die; they merely rest until awoken or reborn. In the nineties the Japanese Gameboy game Pokémon became a global media obsession spawning television series, films, books and trading cards. Toyshops were lined with yellow Pikachus and sports were put aside as children traded and battled with their Pokémon cards in the playground. Then technology moved on and the franchise got left behind unable to compete with the 3D gaming consoles such as the N64 and PlayStation. This year, we saw the Pokémon franchise once again and it took over the entertainment industry with its new game Pokémon Go.
PC Mag reported how the game has smashed Apple’s App Store records for IOS downloads in the first week. The game has taken the world by storm and has been heralded as a gaming triumph and disaster. Thus, this post will look at both sides of the argument.
With the development of smartphones mobile gaming has advanced considerably in recent years, which has certainly helped Pokémon Go’s success. Gaming Realms, the online gaming developer behind popular titles such as Spin City: NRVNA, states that mobile technology has ensured that a platform can take all kinds of gaming content and publish it anyway. Pokémon Go is now available in most countries across the world- meaning that traveling Pokémon lovers will be able to continue playing even while traveling and across a myriad of different platforms.
Pokémon Go has been a celebrated phenomenon for introducing a whole new generation to the great outdoors. The thrill of the game is in finding and collecting all 150 Pokémon and Forbes reports you won’t get far by not moving around. The game has an inbuilt special GPS that alerts users to nearby Pokémon. One of the games biggest features is hatching Pokémon eggs, which require the player to walk anywhere between 2 km and 5 km to make the eggs hatch. Pokémon Go is making an entire generation healthier.
Alongside the physical health benefits are the mental benefits for children suffering with conditions such as autism and anxiety disorders. Friendship Circle writes about the social benefits of the game for children with autism. Pokémon Go encourages social interaction with other players to reap the full benefits of the game. Across the globe large crowds of fellow Pokémon lovers are creating events where they search for Pokémon together. The game has created a large friendly community that people who usually steer away from human contact feel safe in.
Pokémon Go is not only being used to help people but also help society in general. The Huffington Post reports that the game is being used by police to lure criminals to police stations. A police station in Manchester, England discovered that a rare Pokémon was located in their station and created a list of people who were invited to come and catch it. The catch was that everybody on the list was featured in the department’s top 500 most wanted criminals. Nobody was arrested but it demonstrates the unusual ways the game is being used.
Unfortunately, it is not only the police who are using the game. The Guardian suggests that armed robbers are using the game to lure players into traps. Police stated that the robbers were able to use the geolocation feature to anticipate where Pokémon players would go. The game also features a way to create a beacon to attract more players. Police have warned players to be careful when looking for Pokémon in less populated areas such as car parks.
The game creates Pokestops and gyms at landmarks to make it easier for players to meet up. The Calgary Herald claims that memorials such as the U.S Holocaust Museum have become hotspots for players to gather. Many memorial centers have banned players from using the game on the sensitive sites. It has been seen as disrespectful and insulting to the memory of the dead mourned at these sites.
Pokémon Go is also having a negative affect on people’s health and concentration levels. The New York Post suggest players have hurt themselves while playing the game. While the game encourages people to get outside it also forces them to stare at the screen while moving. One of the most dangerous places people are using the game is inside their cars. Pokémon regularly pop upon car dashboards.