Pokemon Go: The New Wave of AR?
Pokemon Go, which incorporated AR (Augmented reality, or AR, the superimposition of digital/virtual elements onto the real world, which is fast becoming a trend nowadays. ) as part of its core gameplay has been described by Honest Game Trailers as “Google Maps + mild cardio + Paper Toss”, which is hardly surprising considering that Google partnered with Nintendo to make this game. First conceived as an April Fool’s joke, Pokémon Go soon materialised with locations borrowed from Niantic’s other AR hit, Ingress.
In Pokémon Go, or PoGo for short, players or trainers as they are called by the gamers, have to capture creatures called Pokémon in Poké Balls. This is done via tapping on the desired Pokémon and flicking their finger to send a Poké Ball towards the target Pokémon. Once the Pokémon is captured, players will be rewarded points, candy and Stardust. The first is pretty straightforward, points gained are used to level up players’ accounts to unlock better-capturing devices – like Great Balls and Ultra Balls, or healing items like Max Revives and Max Potions.
Candy is specific to Pokémon capture and enables players to evolve specific Pokémon in order to complete their Pokédex, which is like a bestiary of collected creatures. Stardust, on the other hand, helps to power up the captured Pokémon as all Pokémon have CP, aka Combat Points to determine their strength and HP (hit points) in battle.
PoGo’s other features are gym battles and raids. Gym Battles now require players to place one Pokémon into the gym of their team’s (Red – Valour, Blue – Mystic, Yellow – Instinct) and allow it to “defend” the Gym, which is just a really fancy way of saying to let it sit there until it gets knocked out in battle. Players can keep their mons there longer by feeding them berries to increase a meter called “motivation”. Once the meter hits zero, the Pokémon is automatically returned to the player and upon receipt of said creature, Poké Coins, the game’s premium currency (how else were you expecting them to make money?) come along as a reward, depending on how long the Pokémon was there defending the Gym.
Raids are a fairly new concept to PoGo, with players being able to band together to defeat a “Raid Boss”, a Pokémon whose CP is stronger than the average mon of its species. Once the Raid Boss is taken down, players are then able to go to the Bonus Challenge, which enables them to catch said Pokémon. Legendary Raids have also recently been introduced, with Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres of Kanto (Generation 1) fame already cycled in and out. Now, the new generation of Legendary Pokémon – Raikou, Entei, and Suicune are out for players to capture.
Then, of course, we have to talk about the revenue-generating outlet that Niantic has put in place – premium currency, aka the Poké Coins we were talking about earlier. Poké Coins can be earned in two different ways – the easy way (currency purchase) or the “hard” way (placing Pokémon in Gyms). Niantic makes several million US$ each day from worldwide purchases. I must admit that I too have been part of the easy-way crowd for the most part.
I have, however, learned a few things from playing the game:
1. There will always be someone better than you (and that’s ok)
Just got your Gyarados after scrambling for 400 Magikarp candy? Look at the person next to you who has 3 Gyarados, and to make matters worse, one of them is shiny. I realised that being the very best, in a way that nobody has ever been, is something that begins with you. You dictate the terms in which you “win” the game, whether it is catching all the Pokémon, filling the Gyms with your team’s colour, or powering up that 100% IV Tyranitar to 3293. Setting goals helps you to stay focused not just in this game, but also in any task. But don’t ever forget that…
2. Addictions are easy to form but difficult to break
This game, on average, is played 43 minutes a day by 60% of Americans, that’s more than the number of people who spend time on Tinder each day. Even though the fad has died down, many people still play it and I doubt the numbers differ (though to be sure, I’ve yet to run a statistical analysis). I admit that I’ve become addicted to the game, a habit which is now difficult to break, so I’ve spent a lot of money and time on this game. Hence….
3. Value your time and money
Spending a lot of time and actual currency on PoGo has not ruined my life just yet but I’ve learned that one should value one’s time and money. After spending close to an exorbitant amount of cash in the game, I’ve slowly begun cutting back and am about to stop altogether. Time, on the other hand, is something I’ve yet to value as much and I’ve wasted plenty of off-hours playing the game, despite protests from my conscience.
All that being said, I was not particularly sure where this article was going; I guess it’s a factoid meets opinion piece. I hope this was both informative and entertaining for you. If you like this article and want more, do subscribe to Ooze Studios’ newsletter and share it with your friends!