The highly anticipated augmented reality game Pokemon GO is here. Today is the official release date, and the mobile app is going to let you “catch ’em all” as you wander the world around you.
Yes, the world of the game is Earth. The app uses GPS and the device’s camera to determine where you are so you can interact with a virtual Pokemon world. This is one of those games that actually challenges you to go outside and explore, but it does have a downside. Gamers obsessed with grabbing Pokeballs and various pocket monsters will only add to the numbers of people out and about looking at their smartphones and not paying attention to where they are.
Not everybody watches where they’re going, even behind the wheel. It may only be a matter of time before drunk and careless drivers start being involved in hit-and-run accidents because children and avid gaming adults are too busy looking at their phones. Be aware of the real world as you play the game.
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Pokemon GO has been in beta testing for months, so it’s likely that the developers have been taking public safety into consideration. They may have eliminated the possibility of avid gamers walking straight into traffic or standing in everybody’s way at the supermarket to catch that elusive pocket monster.
The augmented reality app has already been released in New Zealand and is expected to roll out to major markets such as the United States and the United Kingdom possibly this week. While the app is free, there will be in-game purchases to unlock pocket monsters, and stock up on Pokeballs and other game necessities. You wouldn’t want to be face to face with a rare find and suddenly discover you don’t have a Pokeball to catch it with.
You might even discover PokeStops as you travel, as these locations tend to be attached to national monuments, museums, and landmarks. Again, play the game responsibly and try to appreciate the sights with your own eyes. Not everything needs to be seen through a camera, and the area could be a busy one. Plus, some museums might frown upon the use of flash photography in front of exhibits.
If you catch enough pocket monsters, you will unlock gyms where you can battle leaders and claim them as your own. It’s unknown yet if these gym leaders will be actual people, but be prepared for some intense battles if they are.
— Brian Olvera (@BrianROlvera) July 6, 2016
If the idea of using your camera to catch monsters in Pokemon GO bothers you, there is a $35 wearable device that resembles a GPS pointer designed to look like a Pokeball. It helps you catch your digital discoveries without needing to look at your phone and could be a generally safer option.
For those eager to catch them all as soon as possible in countries where the app hasn’t been released yet, one enterprising hacker has found a way to create a foreign account. Click here for more details on that, or simply wait for your country’s Pokemon GO release date to arrive.
Nintendo is definitely set to help you get out of the house and “catch ’em all” as you see the world around you.
[Image via Nintendo]