Pokemon GO: Let's catch em all

Pokemon GO: Let's catch em all

Guys, I can’t find Charizard! But the map  shows that he is here somewhere!” The old lady sitting next to the three boys in the Blue line of the Delhi Metro seemed bemused by their gibber. Thinking that they might have lost their friend, she was about to offer help, when the boys frantically got up pointing at the screen, and in synchronisation, said, “There he is, look! Let’s go and catch him!” One glance at the phone screen made her realise that they were playing some kind of a game. Baffled, she de-boarded as the train had arrived at the station.

As bewildering as it may seem, but this is the world of Pokémon GO. Originally released as a pair of interlinkable Game Boy role-playing video games, Pokémon has since become the second most successful and lucrative video game-based media franchise in the world.

Pokémon properties have been merchandised into anime, Manga, trading cards, toys, books, and now a location-based, augmented reality game for mobile devices developed by Niantic for iOS and Android operating system. It has gained massive popularity amongst youngsters and adults alike, since it was released in early July this year.

Talking about the game, 21-year-old, Apurva Jain says, “We 90s kids have grown up watching this cartoon. It makes you feel like your childhood has come alive. It is bringing the world together in some sort of a positive sphere filled with happiness. It really uplifts one’s spirits and there is no better feeling than that.”

“The game has generated a lot of frenzy. I have a friend who takes his dog out on a walk twice a day only to catch Pokémon,” she adds.

One of the most positive responses to the game has been that it makes one venture out, explore and meet new people.

“I have been living in this area for 12 years, but it was only because of this game that I went gone to the nearby parks and lanes which were completely unfamiliar to me. What makes it more interesting is that you find different kinds of Pokémon at different places. Like you would find a ‘Lapras’ only near water or a ‘Jigglypuff’ only around grass,” says Yamini, 22, a resident of Dwarka.

“Playing the game feels like owning several pets and taking care of them,” she adds amusingly.

Amongst the wide range of Pokémon available in the game, Pikachu seems to be the most popular. But Aakash, a 24-year-old IT engineer from Bengaluru, has a different opinion and says that he wants to go beyond Pikachu and catch them all.

Even though the game offers numerous features, many feel that there is so much more that can be done. Like, being able to challenge anyone on the street instead of designated ‘PokeGyms’ which are the battle arenas of the Pokémon world and get unlocked only after the player reaches level five.

With the ultimate goal of capturing the original 151 Pokémon, the game has also faced some flak for being a major distraction. However, negating this aspect, Jain who works as a content head at stale coffee.in, says, “I don’t think of it as much of a distraction if you time your addiction well. Like, if I’m watching TV, I might as well catch some Pokémon but if I’m working, that’s about it.”

The game is available for free, although in-app purchases are advertised for additional gameplay items. It is yet to be officially launched in India.

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