What is all this hullabaloo about Pokémon GO? Are you one of those “10 years and older” willing to see what the uproar is about? This is not the first time I’ve tried to catch up to the latest craze. Pokémon GO has now hit more than “21 million active daily users.” You’d think there would have to be something really captivating about it. Turns out, it’s Augmented Reality. (That’s AR to anyone older than 10 years.) A few days ago, I wrote about AI (Artificial Intelligence). This game appears to be a long way from intelligence of any kind. The whole point seems to be that of throwing a virtual ball at a virtual creature.
Being such a progressive older person, however, I do have a smart phone. And this game is free. (They always start out that way.) But then, here is the catch–there are no instructions. What little print is included must be at 6 pt–WAY too small to read. I assume that’s because Pokémon is totally familiar to our younger generations who still have good eyes (the original Nintendo game is 20 years old), and they are well acquainted with the annoying little yellow creature and need no instructions.
But Pokémon GO was only released July 6th and this version is specifically designed for mobile application, Apple iOS and Google Android devices. The game was developed in San Francisco by Niantic and uses the phone’s own GPS to appear in gamers physical locations. WHOA! (That’s the “augmented reality”!) Using the device’s camera, different monsters pop-up, who can range from dragons to crabs (I “caught” one yesterday). They all have these amazingly unique names; don’t ask me what the crab was called.
In my profile, there is a file marked “Jogger” that gives me 2.74/10.00 miles. Hooray! This must be a good thing! I do walk Frosty and use my S Health (it’s an Android thing) to keep track of my steps. I downloaded this game as I figured I’m already walking, why not add another dimension? So far, the dog has gotten to stop and smell the bushes far more often than usual while I’m busy throwing a virtual ball to bag another virtual beast. Unfortunately, her pulling at the leash forces me to throw twice as many balls, but, hey, I made Level 3 anyway. (Don’t ask me what the levels get me.)
So how does this work? The program overlays a digital image on your real world. That means your backyard, your street, your hood. I’ve caught a couple interesting bugs and a bird, but where did they go?
There are now YouTube video instructions made by young, irritating fans because following download there is no clue how to proceed. Even better, there are now Pokémon GO cheats out there. How is it even possible to cheat with this stuff??!
I’m for anything that will encourage the young to get away from their monitors and WALK, but here it is–right back at the cell phones! The game admonishes you to watch where you are going and be aware of your surroundings! That is because this game can be dangerous to the point of walking into canals, light posts, traffic, and, by one account, stepping over a dead body. (I’d mention that sounds like a youthful problem until I noticed myself wandering into someone’s driveway yesterday.)
On the positive side (yes, there could be a positive side!), parents can get out and “play” with their kids, visit the neighborhood, museums, downtown, and parks. Strangers can share progress, and that’s where you come in–have any tips for me? ©2016 Virginia Williams