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July 15, 2016

Why everyone loves Pokémon Go

By now you must have heard of Nintendo’s latest development within the Pokémon franchise, Pokémon Go. If not however allow me to introduce you to the app that has taken the world by storm and unleashed a string of smartphone-armed Pokémon trainers onto the world.

Available on the Apple app store and the Google Play store, Pokémon GO’s downloads have dwarfed the likes of Tinder and lead to a $7 billion increase in Nintendo’s share prices. Whilst not yet available in the UK, Pokémon GO has received a rapturous reception from users in Australia, New Zealand and the states and is due for release within Europe in a few days.

The game operates on an augmented reality platform, combining the classic Pokémon gameplay with the user’s location. The app essentially makes use of the phone’s maps function and camera to plot the location of Pokémon and then display them in your location in real time so that you can capture, battle and train Pokémon.

If you think that you’ll be able to “catch ‘em all” from the comfort of your own home, think again. Pokémon are spread around on a city wide level meaning that if you want to be the very best that no one ever was and muster that mysterious Mewtwo you’re going to have to travel far and wide across your city, setting lures, visiting gyms and Pokéstops located at well known local spots and engaging with other trainers within your area.

Health experts have been quick to praise the game’s platform as players have reported a spike in physical exercise as they walk kilometers around their cities in order to catch that prized Pokémon. The little critters are located in specific areas according to their type.

The game is not officially available in Edinburgh as of yet but who knows, perhaps to wet your whistle with water type Pokémon a stroll down the Water of Leith is required. The raucous rock types may be rolling around the castle ramparts and the fire types may flare ferociously from our extinct volcano, Arthur’s seat.

The fact of the matter is Pokémon GO is a fantastic way to get out of the house and see more of your city, discovering parts of it you may never have truly explored previously. What’s more is that the locations of gyms, Pokéstops (shops where you can acquire Pokéballs and other necessary accessories) have been allocated to local places of interest, meaning that it’s the perfect educational day out for the kids combined with a game that’s fun for parent and child alike.

The game’s future looks like it will only progress from strength to strength as Nintendo will release a wearable device, Pokémon GO Plus, a smart-watch-esque device that notifies the user when Pokémon are in the vicinity and allow you to throw a Pokéball with the push of a button. It’s clear that everyone’s favourite 90s Japanese trend has returned in a big way, so grab the kids, get some comfortable shoes on and go out, explore your city and catch ‘em all!

 


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