Pokemon Go Is A Milestone For Social Gaming
On Wednesday, developers at Niantic released Pokemon Go. I was following the release closely and was even preparing to claim the username “Timothy” before anybody else—but since iOS got the game about an hour after Android, I was forced to adopt the far less in-demand moniker of “TimothyBertrand”.
Brendan Lawson, a video game critic, joined me in playtesting the long-anticipated augmented reality game. Using GPS and their phone’s built-in camera, players can explore the real world and capture Pokemon in their own backyard.
“I’m a huge Nintendo fan, so like, I was on board when the Wii came out”, Brendan says. “But no game has ever made me want to go out and enjoy the real world. This is huge.”
Indeed, if all we wanted as kids was to be real-life Pokemon trainers, this is as close as we will ever get. Exploring the grounds of my apartment complex, I caught a few rattatas and a pidgeot. Brendan and I were hooked, and found ourselves taking a miles long walk through the woods in the dead of night—just to find the distant Gym we observed on our mini-map.
Pokemon Go not only improves upon the aging practice of geocaching, it proves that multiplayer, GPS-based social gaming can work at such a massive scale. For this reason, Pokemon Go will be remembered as a milestone of social gaming—a watershed moment which precludes a new era of augmented reality.
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