A new app called ‘Pokemon Go’ is taking Thailand and the world by storm. The reason it is so popular is because it is relatively unique, where you must explore real world locations in order to find Pokemon. If you love geocaching then this is taking geocaching up to the next level, as instead of searching for small objects, you can search a whole new fantasy world for Pokemon characters, overlaid on the real world environment.
Building a Pokedex
Pokemon Go is a free to play app on the App Store and Google with optional in-app purchase options where you can buy ‘PokeCoins’. As you walk through a real life neighbourhood your smartphone will vibrate when near a Pokemon, where you then must throw a Poke ball at it before the Pokemon escapes. All the time adding to your ‘Pokedex’ of collected Pokemon which allows you to level up and catch even more Pokemon.
Get Fitter and Lose Calories Chasing Pokemon!
Walking set distances allows you to hatch Pokemon eggs, which encourages a healthy walk on the part of the gamer. If you are a keen jogger or runner you will have bags of fun capturing Pokemon along your chosen running routes.
When you first play you can define your character which will evolve in time from Charmander to Charmeleon and then to Charizard. You can even define your character’s eye colour and clothing details. The app allows you to use your smart phone’s camera to see Pokemon overlaid onto a real world view. Once you spot one you tap, hold and swipe your finger across the screen to launch a Poke ball, which if you are successful, then explodes and allows you to capture your Pokemon. You then are shown a screen giving the captured Pokemon character’s stats, including a CP rating (combat power). You can sort your Pokemon into your personal favourites by starring chosen characters. You collect stardust by catching Pokemon, hatching eggs and owning gyms which can be used to power up a Pokemon. You also need to collect different types of candy to evolve each Pokemon character. There are various fun items that you will come across in the game, such as a lucky egg, where anything you do in a thirty minute period will result in your experience points being doubled.
Explore the World
The reasons to follow this new trend are obvious; first of all players are actually active and not just sitting down on a sofa playing it, which is great for health and fitness. Secondly, you can explore interesting places all around the globe, perhaps with the exception of strolling around North Korea looking for Pokemon 😉 For example, there are Pokestops, such as monuments, museums and historical points of interest, where players can stock up on helpful items. This obviously encourages real world adventure and learning.
Regain Family Days Out
Young children for example, who will obviously be accompanied by an adult when playing this game, will spend fun filled memorable days with their parents exploring. Frustrated parents who witness their children mesmerised by their smartphones who become oblivious to what’s happening in their environment, will find this app to be a breath of fresh air. Pokemon Go isn’t just about collecting Pokemon, as gym battles can be fought with players choosing a different coloured team, so players who love the thrill of competition will have a great time too.
In all, this game is addictive and encourages movement, which is lacking with other ‘sit and play’ game apps. The only improvement that most people feel needs to be implemented is the option to trade. Although I am sure that the option to trade Pokemon between players will be implemented in the near future, as players of Pokemon Go are already crying out for this feature to appear. This app was only recently released at the time of writing, so it will be very interesting to see how this game develops over time as Pokemon Go has a lot of potential and is already creating a storm of interest among Pokemon fans.