The Pokémon Go Fever
24 Jul, 2016
Pokémon Go developed by the company you can hardly pronounce without hurting your jaw Niantic Labs is not new to me. I played their previous Augmented Reality (AR) title Ingress a few times the last years, which I dare to say looks more sophisticated (sorry). The only ‘problem’ is, it’s not Pokémon.
Poké-what? If you have lived under a rock the last weeks, here is a video that should bring you up to speed.
I really like the concept of getting people outside, especially giving the kids (or adults) a reason to walk around and discover things. I guess there is only a point where it gets annoying for all non-players to see those herds of under-aged Lemmings walking around like Zombies, almost never taking there eyes of their phones. Well I guess this game makes it also harder for non-players in the real world. Especially if you are in a car and try to dodge all those Pokémon Go Lemming Zombies crossing the street.
There area also those clever people with cars, who drive around to get to the spots faster.
At this point I wish HoloLens was already established and affordable. The hardware would be a perfect fit. Some people showing the possibilities with a prototype in the video below.
Technically this can be done already today with a Cardboard strapped around your face or the Gear VR, but that would look even more stupid then staring at your phone while walking. At least not at this time. I share Mark Zuckerbergs view that AR will be where VR is now in around 5 to 10 years.
I guess you have seen the news about some Pokémon Go incidents lately? Here are the top 5 (not in a specific order).
- Two Canadian teens cross the border into the US while playing Pokemon Go
- In Bosnia, players were warned to stop wandering into areas littered with active landmines.
- Two players fell off a 100 foot cliff edge in Encinitas, North San Diego County while playing the game. They both escaped serious injury.
- Statement from the National Safety Council on Pokémon Go Safety Concerns
- Armed robbers use mobile game to lure players into trap
BONUS Fun: Don’t Play Pokemon Go During State Department Press Briefings
It show how addictive this game can be, when even a reporter is hunting monsters during a State Department Press Briefing.
As much as I like the game design from a, well game designers point of view, I can see the flaw of that system, and unfortunately so can the media too. But as always it is also the player who is responsible, not only the developer (except the geo-spot is set on a landmine, those should be seen on Google Maps really!). I think the real intension of this game is honourable, pure, almost innocent, and make developer and IP owner Nintendo tonnes of real loot too. But seriously, I really like the concept. Maybe it is a good thing to see what really can happen in the real world while people playing the game. We have seen the same happening with the Wii Mote controller and ‘Wii have a problem’. The wrist straps where added later to the controller, but if you (still) don’t use them stuff happens as seen below.
As an indie developer I am still up for building AR games myself, as it is a very exciting field indeed. All this shows where the pros and cons of a system like this are.
Which is good to take into account in future projects. I believe Niantic Labs and Nintendo also (still) learning from the game roll out in several countries.
So if you have to play Pokémon Go, please play it responsible and don’t ignore the disclaimer (this time for real!). You only have one live in the real world!
Also: 7 Places Where You Shouldn’t Play ‘Pokemon Go’
The Huffington Post says: ‘To call “Pokemon Go” popular would be a severe understatement.’ and shows 7 players where you shouldn’t play this game.
Trivia: Remember 1997
Somehow Pokemon tries really hard to be in the news…
in 1997, an episode (Dennō Senshi Porygon (Episode 38)) of the Pokémon animated series was broadcast in Japan. Barely thirty minutes later, around 700 children were on their way to hospital. I remember it was in the news because some were diagnosed with epilepsy, which had been triggered by the rapidly-blinking display. The episode was remove from the rotation.
Here the Wikipedia link to the full story.