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What is Pokemon Go?

Remember Pokemon games on the Gameboy? You could become a Pokemon trainer by catching Pokemon, battling, and training them around gyms. The game all happened in Gameboy, but sometimes you wish you could jump into the game and try to become the best Pokemon trainer. Now with Pokemon Go, you can live out your childhood dream of being a Pokemon trainer. Pokemon Go is a new mobile-only, iOS and Android; that mixes Pokemon hunting into the real world with Augmented Reality. The app uses the phone’s camera to look around your surroundings for Pokemon. This means you’ll have to get up off your couch and move around to find gym’s, Pokemon centers, and Pokemon themselves.

The app lets you become a real life Pokemon master, while you’re out and about exploring the world. I’ve been playing the game when the servers aren’t down, and finding and catching Pokemon everywhere. While I wasn’t a huge fan of Pokemon growing up, the app today is a fun and interesting way to play the game.

So what else is up with Pokemon Go?

What is the hype?

Pokemon Go is a one of a kind game that is bringing back a game many played while they were growing up. The difference is they can play the game out in a modern way, with friends, and in one of the geekiest ways. Everyone’s talking about the game because players are looking around with their phones instead of watching where they’re walking, making for some dangerous situations. One Pokemon Go player was trying to catch a Pokemon and ended up finding a dead body by the river. The idea of looking through your phone’s screen, seeing the real world with Pokemon layered on top is exciting and new for many.

The game is also Nintendo’s first mobile game that was promised years ago. Nintendo’s stock is on the rise from the games successful but rocket launch, and at the prospect other Nintendo properties coming to the smartphone. One day we could play Mario games on our smartphones instead of having to buy a dedicated device, but that’s not saying I wouldn’t buy a Nintendo DS to play games.  

What’s the problem with their servers?

Pokemon Go hit the top of the U.S. iTune App store list in mere hours, which meant hundreds of thousands of users downloaded the game and tried to play it. In addition to U.S., users in Australia and New Zealand has access to the game. The game has over 29,000 reviews which are only a fraction of the users playing the game. If that many users are on at the same time, it’s no wonder why the servers are getting taken down. Not only that, this is the first mobile game from Nintendo. They’re an established game developer, but they’ve never had to manage servers where thousands of users are on it at the same time.

Pokemon Go is also a data heavy game, sending information and receiving information perpetually. As you move around the servers are loading information on where the Pokemon and other locations are. There always has to be a constant flow of information from the server to the phone to get a good experience.

Is this game the first of it’s kind?

An augmented reality game has to be the first of it’s kind, right? A mobile game from Google had a similar theory of using the phone’s camera to find, in their case, energy. The game, Ingress, was popular among a small subset of users, but no means how popular Pokemon Go has become.

AR games like Pokemon Go could be made more familiar as the game gains popularity. There are also AR projects like Project Tango or Microsoft’s Hololens. Image running around with Hololens on and seeing Pokemon, instead of having to look through your phone’s screen.  

My Thoughts

Pokemon Go is a game that’s making AR a mainstream technology, and will make Hololens more appealing to consumers. When I’m able to play the game, I have a hard time finding Pokemon, and catching them. I’ve also had a hard time remember to boot the game up to play. Most games, like Clash of Clans or Threes you’re able to play anywhere without needing to move around. Pokemon Go is a little different where as you need to walk around your neighborhood to find Pokemon and gyms.

If I remember to load up the game to play it’s a fun and entertaining game that’ll get you outside for better or worse.


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