Pokemon GO. Augmented Reality Meets the Classics

If there was one media franchise that caught the imagination of almost all the kids who grew up in the 1990’s it would be Pokémon. Most of us who were kids at the turn of the millennium will have plenty of memories of spending countless hours playing the various Pokémon editions on a Nintendo GameBoy, or eagerly waiting to watch the latest episodes of Ash Ketchum’s adventures, or how we would spend all our allowances buying Pokémon trading cards hoping we would find an elusive Charizard card or a Celebi card.


Heck, most of us can still sing along to the catchy “Gotta catch em’ all” theme song of the Pokémon television series!


Then the Pokémon franchise faced a bit of a dormant period without giving its millions of fans throughout the world something new to look forward to. But all that is about to change with the release of Pokémon Go; the franchise’s latest ultra interactive game. Developed by Nintendo and Niantic Labs, Pokémon Go is an augmented reality game that lets you experience the thrill of catching, training, and battling Pokémon like you’ve never experienced it before.


Pokémon Go Gameplay

One of the restrictive features of the classic Pokémon games was that they operated in a linear universe, with players not being able interact with other player and people in real-time. But Pokémon Go has promised to change all that for good.


Pokémon Go will operate just as a regular App, but will use the GPS technology on your smart-phone to bring the Pokémon we all love into the very world we live in. What this means is that Pokémon will be placed in various locations around your neighborhood, giving you the opportunity of actually venturing out to these locations and battling and capturing them. And what’s even more fascinating is that the Pokémon will be located in similar geography and environments which they would actually live and breed in if the Pokémon world were real; so you will need to head out to a nearby river if you want to catch a Squirtle, a park or a forest to catch a Bulbasaur, and a rocky terrain to battle and catch an Onyx.


You will also find that many popular landmarks in your areas will be used by the App as Pokémon Gyms for PvP or multiplayer battles! The game also includes real time alerts to immediately notify you of any Pokémon nearby while you travel about too.


Thus, Pokémon Go takes the augmented reality experience of games such as Ingress and places it in the context of Pokémon.




Pokémon Go Plus Wristband

If you are worried that running Pokémon Go on your phone will drop its performance, the Nintendo and Niantic Lads have combined the Pokémon Go App with wearable-tech to give you the Pokémon Go Plus. The Pokémon Go Plus comes in the form of a wristwatch which is connected to the App on your phone so that you can catch Pokémon in the wind and collect items with just a touch of a button, giving you a more head’s up experience. The Pokémon Go Plus costs a measly US$34.99, making it rather easily accessible to fans from all over the world.


How do I get Pokémon Go?

Pokémon Go was released on the 5th of July 2016 on both Android and iOS in select countries. Pokémon Go hasn’t been released to markets such as the US and Japan, and it looks like Sri Lanka is not on the list just as yet either. But Nintendo and Niantic Labs have asked fans who are eager to try out this cutting-edge game to be a bit patient, as Pokémon Go will formally be released worldwide pretty soon.


Pokémon Go is currently listed as a free app on both the App Store and the Play Store, permitting any one from trying it out, although some in-game upgrades will require micro-transactions ranging from US$0.99 to US$99.99.


The Future of Gaming

The release of Pokémon Go ushers in a new trend in gaming; where classic games that we all grew up with are jacked up with the latest technology to enhance the experience of re-playing our childhood games with more mind-blowing graphics, more PvP interaction, and real-time action.


Pokémon Go, if it lives up to the hype, is sure to do just that – give us a chance of training and battling with our favourite Pokémon, re-booted with stunning graphics, more real-world interaction, and wearable tech features as well. So go ahead and catch em’ all!


Editor’s note: PokemonGo is now available in Sri Lanka. So go on and ‘catch ’em all!

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