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Published on July 29th, 2016 | by gareth


What Pokémon is for those who have no idea

“Pokémon – got to catch them all!” If this sentence doesn’t make any sense to you then you are probably missing out on the biggest social media phenomenon to date. Yes, since Zuck and his “social” revolution took over, it took more than 10 years for an equally cataclysmic event to take place in order to bring about a new movement in the realm of Social Media, Augmented Reality, Mobile and Video Games.

It is called Pokémon Go – a mobile game app that lets you become a trainer of Pokémon. Now, since you have no idea what any of those words mean, let’s start from the very beginning. It is the peak of what we consider social apps thanks to the major connectivity opportunities for players and people over social media and mobile devices.

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It was in the late 1989-early 1990’s that a designer who worked for a little known Japanese company called Nintendo, Satoshi Tajiri had an idea for a game for the Game Boy. It involved roaming around the world, collecting exotic animals that had different powers based on the elements – fire, water, earth, air and would pit them against each other for the title of “being the best trainer in the world”.

This idea would become a reality with the first official Pokémon game in 1995 for the game boy. It was developed by the studio Game Freak and published by Nintendo. It was but the start of one of the greatest game franchises whose popularity grew thanks to a animated TV series, toys and other products, as well as a full franchise of licensed video games.

So what’s the appeal of Pokémon and why is it so important to note before talking about Pokémon Go? Well, thanks to its immense popularity in Japan, the franchise (both video games and anime) was translated and shown across the world to a huge critical and fan appraisal, with millions of fans going crazy for the Pokémon hunt. The trick lies in the collective nature of the games and the show itself, with the character being constantly tested to catch the most rare of Pokémon and become the best Pokémon trainer in the world.

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Fast forward to 2016 and the product of an April’s joke between Nintendo and Google for a video game based on mobile augmented virtual reality. Pokémon Go is now listed as the sole reason for Nintendo’s stock to double in a mere week due to the massive 40 million + downloads of the app for both iOS and Android devices.

This free smartphone game app lets you play as a Pokémon trainer – simply create your game avatar and start exploring. With integrated GPS tracking and location based software, the app renders Pokémon on real-life locations, turning the “boring” landscapes into Pokémon hunting grounds.

The game’s massive success is owed in the largest part due to its simple yet crafty design – turning you into a real life Pokémon trainer, who by exploring the world around you can find rare Pokémon and have them ready for battle. The world is now populated with Poke gyms and Poke-shops where you can either battle other trainers or mend Pokémons and equip items for your travels.

What Pokémon Go did was revitalize the stagnant mobile market and add a whole new level of immersion, unseen by gaming standards in years. Players from around the world had united, crossing the usual barriers set by “standard” gaming devices like PC”s and consoles, letting players explore the world and meet new friends and people. It is by far the biggest gaming and social event in 2016 and maybe of all time.


About the Author

Syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. His work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site and publication “Skewed and Reviewed”. He has three books of film, game reviews and interviews published and is a well-received and in demand speaker on the convention circuit. Gareth has appeared in movies and is a regular guest on a top-rated Seattle morning show. He has also appeared briefly in films such as “Prefountaine”, “Postal”. “Far Cry”. and others. Gareth is also an in-demand speaker at several conventions and has conducted popular panels for over two decades.

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