Gotta Catch Em’ All! Pokemon GO!

So I have a funny story to share that happened at work earlier.  While working the ticket booth a couple of days ago, I noticed a kid walking by with his eyes glued to his phone.  As he wandered by me, I asked how he was doing and what he was up to today at the park.  His response was that he was heading to catch a Pokémon at the bathhouse of Berry Pond.  He was ready to catch a Pokémon, just like from the hit animated series!  I started cracking up when he informed me that he found a Pokémon on the Pokémon GO app.

Listen to that answer for a minute.  He didn’t want to check out the park or go swimming on Berry Pond on this warm summer day.  This kid wandered into Berry Pond with the intention of collecting a Pokémon.  It seemed as though the world really was changing in this 21st century!

Pokémon GO is a location-based augmented reality game developed by Niantic for mobile phones.  Players can capture, battle, and train virtual Pokémon that would appear in the real world.  It utilizes the GPS and Camera apps in order to spot nearby Pokémon in the area.  The augmented-reality game has become the hottest new downloadable app that is sweeping the nation.  The game released on July 6th and was the fastest game to top the App Store and Google Play within 24 hours.

Users create an avatar during the start of the game.  Customized avatar comes with hair, skin, style, eye color, and a limited number of outfits that best suits you.  Your avatar is displayed at your current location, with a map that showcases your immediate surroundings.  You are now on your way to become the next Pokémon master!

Augmented Reality broke grounds in the 21st century as the demand for smartphone soared throughout the years.  The concept involves a live direct or indirect view of a real-world environment where elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory inputs.  Such inputs include video, sound, graphics or GPS data.  Sony’s EyeToy was the first to implement augmented-reality software for a video game back in October 2003.  EyeToy was a digital camera device for the PlayStation 2 that utilizes computer vision and gesture recognition to process images taken by the system.

Even with the vast criticism people have about the game, Pokémon GO has proven to be help for people with mental health illnesses.  Pokémon GO has been encouraging users to go outside and take a walk in order to learn more about their surroundings.  People suffering from depression or mood disorders find it difficult to exercise, so the game has been proven to provide a reason to go outside.  Playing the game is a lot of fun and users feel rewarded for capturing a Pokémon, providing behavioral actions for gamers.  Because the game has become so popular, it has now become an easy conversation starter for those suffering with social anxiety.  Leave it to Nintendo to provide a healthier alternative for people to get outdoors!

Pokémon was my one of my favorite games as a child.  I can remember riding the bus to Doyon School with my Gameboy at hand, scouting out wild Pokémon in the virtual world.  Almost 15 years later, Pokémon has become more relevant than ever.  The Pokémon brand isn’t too hard to flourish each year because a new group of children will discover a world of pocket monsters to collect.  There will always be a new wave of kids who want to become the next Pokémon masters of their time.

Pokémon embodies one of America’s greatest values: becoming the very best and conquering all that you discover in the world.  Just look at the beginning of the lyrics of the Pokémon TV series:

     I wanna be the very best,

                 Like no one ever was,

                 To catch them is my real test,

                 To train them is my cause.

            Just those four lines implement the theme of capturing every Pokémon and becoming the very best trainer of all.  It seems no surprise that Pokémon GO has become the hottest downloadable app for the Android and Apple market.  Just like that random kid wandering into Berry Pond, millions of other Pokémon masters are scurrying the streets to locate Pokémon in the area.  Pokémon won’t be going away anytime soon because all Americans want to become the next Pokémon master of their time.  So what are you waiting for?  Go out and collect some Pokémon!



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