By MICHELLE MARCHANTE
It’s official, the long-awaited it’s-no-longer-an-April-Fools-Prank game, “Pokemon Go” has been released and fans have pretty much exploded with anticipation on finally being able to get their hands on this augmented reality phone simulator but while the app’s concept is brilliant, its execution is horrible.
Topping the app charts not even a day after being released, “Pokemon Go” has become an instant phenomenon as the trending Twitter hashtag #PokemonGo demonstrates, with its concept of “Get active, go outside, explore and find Pokemon” enthralling thousands of users with the ability to actually see and catch their Pokemon in the “real world.”
While this concept is appealing, in more ways than one, as it forces people to not only get some nice Vitamin D, but to get active and even interact with others, this concept (as much as I hate to say it) is what makes the app a failure. It’s boring, dangerous and problematic.
The first five times you look into your phone’s camera and actually find a Pikachu, Eevee or hell even a Magikarp in your backyard or your local park the thrill is unbelievable, it’s indescribable, it’s pure magic. But, that magic is short-lived.
Once you throw a couple of Pokeballs around the thrill disappears because as blasphemous as it sounds, once you catch one you’ve pretty much caught them all.
Unlike its actual video-game predecessors that have an interactive storyline to completely immerse you in the Pokeverse, “Pokemon Go” has none.
Catch a Pokemon, Fight a Gym, Train the Pokemon, Catch a Pokemon, Fight a Gym- it’s the same routine.
Besides its repetitiveness, playing “Pokemon Go” comes with Stampeding Taurus level dangers. Looking down at your phone while walking has never been a good idea and being on a Pokemon Watch to boot doesn’t help. Not paying attention to your surroundings is dangerous and you may find yourself smacking face-first into a pole, trespassing in your neighbor’s yard or finding yourself accidentally on the path of an oncoming car.
Besides these type of accidents, players are also at risk of being mugged or worse. Having your phone out for an extended period of time and moving it around in the air as you try to find a Pokemon in a familiar or unfamiliar neighborhood makes you a prime target for Team Rocket-on-steroids type of criminals.
According to the O’Fallon Missouri Police Department’s Facebook, a “Pokemon Go” related crime has already occurred as they apprehended four individuals who they believed were using the “Pokemon Go’s” beacon feature to commit multiple armed robberies.
“You can add a beacon to a ‘PokeStop’ to lure more players,” the department’s post explained. “Apparently, they were using the app to locate people standing around in the middle of a parking lot or whatever other location they were in.”
Besides the dangers, the app is also causing problems for people. On July 5th, the Darwin Police Station sent out a Facebook post, requesting that trainers stay out of their station.
“[W]hilst the Darwin Police Station may feature as a Pokestop, please be advised that you don’t actually have to step inside in order to gain the pokeballs,” the post read.
To clarify, a PokeStop is a designated historical, cultural or popular location where players can receive free items such as Pokeballs and eggs but people have been entering the station-something that is not required to get the items from the PokeStop-nonstop in hopes of finding some Pokemon. The Australian police department also has some safety concerns in reference to the game, reminding trainers to pay attention and always look both ways before crossing the street.
Of course, you can wait to buy the PokemonGoPlus, a small companion bracelet, which will help players avoid the excessive phone battery drain and lesson your risk of being hurt while still giving you the capability to capture Pokemon and collect items while you’re on the go with the click of its center button but that sort of defeats the whole purpose of the free app and your “interaction” between the virtual and real world.
Don’t get me wrong: “PokemonGo” was a nice idea. Get players to be active, unite people through the game, destroy the wall between virtual and physical reality, but it just came up short. While it’s a nice freebie for the company to give its loyal Pokemon fans, that’s all it is.
Instead of being satisfied with having our faces glued to our phones, how about we ask and wait for them to invent some type of virtual reality headgear similar to the Nervegear found in “Sword Art Online” that would actually make us feel like we’re in the Pokemon world- but without the whole trapping-us-in-there-until-a-Kirito-type-Ash-Ketchum-comes-around-to-save-us of course.
Image retrieved from Flickr.