Pokem(on) the GO… Wait, What?

So how many of you haven’t heard of Pokémon GO?

Like almost everyone who is reading this, I am also caught in the Pokémon craziness taking over the world.  This has led to reading through some catchy titles flooding the internet over the past month, including

  • Pokémon GO Influencing Baby Names
  • Teacher quits her job to become a full-time Pokémon GO Player
  • Pokémon GO Player drives into Police Car
  • How to make money with Pokémon GO

But what is actually happening here, what is Pokémon GO (for all of the lucky ones who haven’t heard about it yet) and why is everyone going so crazy about it?

Let me first give you a short history lesson on this

Lesson #1: Pokémons from the 1990s

Pokémon (aka a “pocket monster”) was a Nintendo video game/Japanese cartoon which was first aired in 1997. The plot follows the life of Ash Ketchum, who (back in 1997 :)) kicked off his journey to become a Pokémon master. On this journey, many battles with other trainers and their creatures were fought.  I also remember watching the cartoon, and recall the episodes having a nice, touching and educational end to them.

All in all, not a bad idea at all to build up on the story and adjust it to the crazy technology-obsessed world we live in…

Lesson #2: Pokémon ‘GO’ from 2016

Probably most of you are unaware of who invented Pokémon GO (I was until I researched it).

It was John Hanke, an entrepreneur whose initial geospacial data visualization company got acquired by Google in 2004, where he then stayed to lead Google Earth & Maps. Nonetheless, still being a true entrepreneur at heart, Hanke started another company inside Google – Niantic Labs, which launched one of the first augmented reality games in 2012. Leaving Google in 2015 and raising more than $30 million from Google, Nintendo and Pokémon, Pokémon GO started taking over the world in July 2016 and the story is ‘to be continued…’

The infographic developed by Anna Vital very vividly depicts the development of the game in pictures.


Infographic on how it all started, by Anna Vital

Lesson #3: the difference between Pokémon of the 1990s and Pokémon GO of 2016

Pokémons of the 1990s were miracle creatures followed by their fans (mostly children), watching the cartoon before bedtime, playing the Nintendo game and exchanging cards.

Today Pokem(on the) GO are incorporated into the daily life of almost everyone – from children to adults. They hide in your kitchen, garden, and throughout the environment you walk and sleep in. They never let you relax as you constantly see them sneaking around. Dear John Hanke, what have you done to us?

What makes Pokémon GO extremely exciting, is that it is an augmented-reality game, which means that it is a mix of the real world and a game. The game connects with our phone’s GPS data and clock in order to detect where we are, and using our phone camera, captures the scenery around us, thus placing the Pokémons somewhere around us.

What should we make of this?

What is happening now? Can we even understand all of the craziness behind the game? And should it be considered as good or bad? Let’s look at some facts:

1. Pokémon GO is making people spend more TIME OUTSIDE. It is not a surprise anymore to see more people outside chasing little monsters, whilst at the same time learning more about the environment and everything that surrounds them. The game is encouraging people to travel more, walk more, and move around the real world more. The reward? Catching more Pokémon!

2. Pokémon GO is on the other hand distracting people from real life and things going on around them, thus leading to RISKY BEHAVIOUR. We have already read about cases of car crashes or people walking into traffic. Walking around staring at your phone is simply asking for trouble. But on the other hand, isn’t that already a problem? If it’s not Pokémon, it’s WhatsApp, Instagram etc. etc. …

3. Pokémon GO is helping to “BOOST THE ECONOMY”. Not only NIANTIC LABS is making millions of dollars with the app. Seeing the hype around the game, many people have come up with very creative ideas to make money, such as selling Pokémon GO accounts, being a Pokémon Bodyguard, being a Pokémon Walker and selling old Pokémon souvenirs from the late 1990s.

All in all, like every new thing on the market, the Pokémon HYPE is here and I believe it will last for some time. It is yet to see however, how long exactly it will last.

Nonetheless, for as long as it lasts, it is nice to see people getting excited about something and getting out of their houses.

The decision to chase these little crazy creatures around the block is up to you, but isn’t it nice for all of us to feel like children again; at least for a while?


Foto credits~ TJ Photography

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