NOTE: Pikachu is NOT in the IG office. No Pokemon were harmed in the making of this photo.
For anyone who has been on the internet in the past week, you’ve probably heard of Pokémon Go (or maybe you’ve played yourself!). It’s the mobile game taking the world by storm, allowing users to walk around in real life to find and catch Pokémon, or pocket monsters, using the GPS feature of their cell phones. Players will see landmarks in their hometown transformed into Pokéstops, where you can collect items to assist you in your journey. Centralized locations called Gyms act as a battleground for testing the strength of your squad of Pokémon against other players, setting the stage for plenty of friendly competition. Businesses are already cashing in on the new trend by paying to become a Pokéstop or gym, offering a unique marketing opportunity that could have crowds of eager Pokémon players outside your door.
Pokémon Go goes even further to create an immersive gaming experience with the help of Augmented Reality which overlays Pokémon onto the input from the phone’s camera. This unique feature coupled with the accessible style of gameplay makes it easy and exciting for people from all walks of life to get in on the action. Generation Z needs no convincing to test out the latest tech fad, but Pokémon Go also has the generation that was chasing down Pikachu on Game Boy devices in the 90’s jumping into the world of gaming on mobile phones.
The popularity of Pokémon Go has been monstrous since its release, boosting Nintendo’s shares by a whopping 50% since its launch. It has consistently topped the charts of the most downloaded apps in the United States, Australia, the UK and New Zealand which are the only countries it has officially been released in. Users in other countries are finding ways to gain access to the game, however, with player meet ups already being scheduled via Facebook events at locations such as the CN Tower in Toronto.
The utility of the game can extend beyond just having fun, with some players getting off the couch to go for a walk or bike ride for the first time in months; all in the pursuit of Pokémon. It can also ease social anxiety by allowing players to make new friends with the help of an electronic medium. For those of you who are already expert Pokémon Trainers or who plan to join the race to catch an elusive Mewtwo in the near future, here are some tips and tricks to keep in mind:
- Different Pokémon live in different regions – explore new locations you haven’t been to before and you may be pleasantly surprised!
- Tap and hold the Pokéball before throwing it for higher accuracy
- If you keep catching the same Pokémon (we all know the struggle), you can trade the duplicates in to the Professor in exchange for candy to feed to your other creatures to help them level up
- Turn on Battery Saver Mode in the settings to make sure you can catch ‘em all!
- Most importantly, travel with one of your fellow trainers and always be safe. Catching Pokémon is serious business and can result in injury.