Nintendo will make a groundbreaking first entrance into the world of mobile gaming apps: Pokémon Go, announced by Nintendo on September 9, 2015, will require players to travel around the real world to catch Pokémon and battle other trainers.
It brings Pokémon to the level of real life. Or does it bring real life to the level of Pokémon? Who can say?
Wild Technology Appears! Can’t Escape!
Nintendo had long resisted offering its games on App Stores, preferring to keep them on their own devices–the Gameboy, the Wii, etc. But shortly before the death of Nintendo founder and president, Satoru Iwata, a few months ago, an agreement was signed by Iwata to expand to mobile devices in partnership with Niantic, a division of Google recently given more autonomy under Google’s new parent company Alphabet.
Niantic has already developed Ingress, a gaming app where players earn points by visiting real-world locations and interacting with other people face-to-face. It already has 12 million downloads from around the world.
Pokémon Go will operate similarly–only, with Pokémon.
This video gives a sense of how Pokémon Go will work. A virtual reality of Pokémon will essentially be placed on top of our existing world. Players will use their iOS or Android devices to tap into this world and “see” and “interact” with the Pokémon roaming around it. (Congratulations, your iPhone is now a Silph Scope.)
Once you spot these Pokémon, can you use your phone to deploy your own Pokémon to battle them, to throw Poke Balls to catch them, to track their HP, etc.
Players can also use small Bluetooth enabled wristband called,Pokémon Plus Go, which will light up to alert “trainers” of Pokémon in the area – also, it allows us to look more like Ash, which is clearly what we all want.
This Writer is Confused! He Hurt Himself In His Confusion!
What’s less clear is how exactly players see the Pokémon. Do they hold their phones up like filters over reality and see the Pokémon through there? Do they wear Google Glass or something similar to visualize them in real life (If not initially, that will certainly be the case in the future)? Or does the app just tell people the Pokémon are there, and people are just excited enough to believe it?
Well, in a sense, that last one will always be true.
Life Fainted! Use Next Reality?
Incorporating gaming into real life is the inevitable next step towards “the ultimate gaming experience.”
In many ways, this marks a positive change. In this model of gaming, the hardcore gamer is not a pasty, flabby, virginal adolescent less likely to overdose on drugs than on Mountain Dew. Instead, the hardcore Pokémon Go gamer is an outdoor adventurer, a curious explorer, perhaps even fit (though probably still virginal). The capacity for human-to-human interaction is exponentially larger.
But then again, it was nice having such a clear line between living and gaming. Overlapping them, as Pokémon Go will do, allows for more constant gaming, for all intents and purposes turning life into one big game. Pokémon Go opens the floodgates of virtual reality, and it will be just the earliest of many different filters people will be able to layer over their life, without which reality, like an unedited Instagram, just looks a little dull.
As cool as Pokémon Go sounds, life is good enough for me. I’ll live my life #nofilter. But will I get away safely?
What Pokémon would you most want to catch in Pokémon Go? Or will you play it at all?