July 12, 2016
Developer and publisher Niantic have created the next great thing, and it’s the game you’ve probably heard a lot about by now: Pokemon Go.
People all over the world have been playing the free-to-play augmented reality game and posting all about their Pokemon adventures. The game allows players to capture, train, battle and eventually trade Pokemon that appear throughout the real world.
Players first create an in-game avatar that will be displayed to determine the players' current locations. Players move around the real world to make the avatar walk. Within the players’ immediate surroundings are Pokestops and Pokegyms, which are placed at real-life memorials, restaurants, parks, churches, tourist attractions and more. Gamers can also encounter Pokemon, players may view them in an augmented reality view or with a pre-rendered background. The augmented reality view showcases a Pokemon in the real world by utilizing the mobile device’s gyroscope and camera.
Players use a unique system to catch Pokemon, relying on the gamer to throw a Pokeball at the right time and with the right amount of force to make a successful capture. Players are then rewarded with a new Pokemon, as well as candies and stardust — the in-game currencies that are used to raise a Pokemon’s combat power (CP).
Players' in-game avatars also earn experience points for actions like catching a Pokemon. As gamers gather experience, the in-game level of their avatar will rise. Once a player reaches level five, they can join one of three teams (red, blue or yellow) and battle at Pokemon Gyms found throughout the world. Players can capture gyms for their team by battling members of the opposing team occupying the gym. Every victory by the attacking team lowers the gym's prestige. After the prestige of the gym hits zero, the attacking player can take control of the gym and choose a Pokemon to defend it. Similarly, team members occupying a gym can upgrade the gym's prestige by battling the gym leader.
Pokemon Go is a genius game that has used a game’s world to work flawlessly with our own world via augmented reality and mobile devices. The game does a bad job of explaining all the features and activities players can take advantage of, but a little searching online will explain all. Outside of the poor user interaction from the company, the game itself is perfect and highly addictive. The out-of-the-box element of having gamers actually walking around the real world to interact and play the game is truly refreshing.
Now excuse me as I take a walk around the block and attempt to "catch them all."