Pokemon Mania is sweeping the world. You’ll not be able to escape the news or the noise generated by a highly addictive addition to the pantheon of unique gaming trends to come out of Japan. PokemonGo is, for all intenes and purposes, a great excuse to get outside and walk around your neighbourhood, explore the same streets with a new shiny graphical overlay. An augmented reality, seen only through your smartphone, internet-connected screen, and one full of funky little monsters (the “mon” of Pokemon) that you need to collect and train to fight.
Nintendo have done it again. Every so often the company held highly in the affections of so many self-styled geeks reappears with a veritable game-changer. Those of you who experienced the GameBoy or Wii might well agree. Pokemon have been around for some time, but the Go element brings them to life in the real world. Working closely with Google via a joint venture development company called Niantic, Nintendo have been researching the possibilities of the SoLoMo for over two years. What started as an April Fools Day joke, by integrating Pokemon into Google Maps, then morphed into a serious flavour of mobile gaming called Ingress, complete with a fairly militaristic design and content flow. Having used Ingress myself for several weeks (hardly serious gaming territory I know) I can see the overlap between this iteration and PokemonGo: use of landmarks to gather people, global team game, checking in or tagging locations to gain points.
Niantic take PokemonGo that bit further though and this is where it gains mass appeal – it is well designed and simple to use, from what I have seen. Now if the App Store in UAE would just release it I can give you a proper review, complete with walking around in 50C heat here in Dubai. There was already one spotted at Bell Pottinger’s offices in Dubai Media City, perhaps there is one right next to your desk?!