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Saturday, September 12, 2015

Pokémon Augmented Reality Video Game - Pokémon Go

If Nintendo can pull this off, I'm going to buy my first mobile phone ever.

Pokémon is turning 20 in 2016, and while I have enjoyed the cartoons when I catch'em on TV, since becoming a husband it's not longer seen as being cool to sit around in my underwear on a Saturday morning eating Fruit Loops and watching the show.

That doesn't mean I don't like the show… only that the opportunity to enjoy it has been forced past me.

You would think my nine-year-old son would enjoy watching it, but he only likes the Pokémon
gaming cards, and that's something I have little to no interest in. Less even.

But… now… with the upcoming release—granted it's in 2016— of the video game Pokémon Go, I might actually enter the 21st century technology-wise.

What's the deal with the game that has me so excited? It's not just Pokémon, but rather it is an augmented reality video game that uses a mobile phone's camera to seek out and capture Pokémon. For augmented real.

“The day has finally come when Pokémon appear in the real world,” says series designer Matsuda Junichi (surname first).

Developed by Niantic, who had previously created the augmented reality game Ingress (which used GPS (global positioning system) technology to move along the sci-fi story),  Pokémon Go uses a watch-like device with the Pokéball design on it called the Pokémon Go Plus to help the player interact with the game without being forced to stare at their phone—though it will be available for both the Android and iOS platforms.


The Pokémon Go Plus connects to a smartphone via Bluetooth and tells the player about events in the game, such as if there is a Pokémon nearby, by using an LED and vibration. Gotta love the vibration.  

Apparently, Pokémon Go will be available for download at no charge on the App Store and Google Play, though In-app purchases will be available, and probably necessary to get the whole game play.

Now… if the game looks anything like the advertisement for it below—wow!


As you can see, the advertisement trailer implies that the augmented reality will use the real world around you to walk and seek out Pokémon so that you can capture them yourself… it could be in the alleyway, or in a shop… wherever… you might have to walk a few meters to find them but find them you will as long as your orientation skills are on the mark.

Is this what the game is really like? Yes. Sort of.

My only concern, is that we're going to see even more people wandering around busy city blocks with their head up their a$$ as they follow the game play... IE, people will be really lost in their own little Pokémon world as they walk around shopping malls or on the sidewalk.

How soon before someone gets hurt because they aren't paying attention to the real world? This will happen.

I'm pretty sure the game will show you that Pokémon are battling and that there might even be a huge splash of water onto that real bridge you are standing upon, but the real water below won't actually be splashing… just an augmented reality version of the water will be on your smart phone.

The only way this could be better, is if the game maybe allowed you to FEEL someone of the action.
On my kids Nintendo 3DS, I played a Mario game where if I blew across the screen (at the appropriate angle) with my breath I could actually dislodge flowers in a field. No… really. It's bloody awesome.
It would be better IF the character images (left) were superimposed on the real world imagery (right)... otherwise I am unsure what one image has to do with the other here. Image courtesy of Pokemon. 
While I assume that the game will provide vibration should your Pokémon actually get hit in a battle, it would be really cool if the phone could somehow emit a breeze onto you when a Pokémon traveled past you… Next step in the evolution of Pokémon Go perhaps.

That's not a complaint by me… the game looks like it should be freaking awesome.

I have used augmented reality technology in the past just last year, and even played an augmented reality video game some 20 years ago… it was all cube like stiff with bare-bones backgrounds, where I could squeeze the trigger of a plastic gun I carried to shoot creatures around me.

This isn't as violent, but graphically… it's light years ahead. I do have concerns about people not concentrating on the real world while playing this, however. 

I found the lead to this story on the Scoop! e-newsletter, a weekly production that keeps you in the loop for anime and manga news and so much more. To register for the free newsletter, click through to http://scoop.diamondgalleries.com.

Nintendo… kanpai!
I'll be getting that smart phone soon enough - just to play Pokémon Go.
Andrew Joseph

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