Pokémon GO: Riding high on a wave of nostalgia, Pokémon obsession and technology

Pokemon GO is finally here!!! The exclamation marks are not without intent for they show the eagerness and impatience with which I've awaited the arrival of a Pokemon game on mobile.

Pokémon GO is finally here!!! The exclamation marks are not without intent for they show the eagerness and impatience with which I've awaited the arrival of a Pokémon game on mobile. The excitement is real, and the demand is almost breaking the internet. The app climbed to the top in Apple's App Store within days of launch with hundreds of thousands installing the app. In addition to the popularity, Pokémon GO servers are being hammered every day due by the sheer number of users playing and signing up to play the game.

The internet is losing its mind and its hard to imagine that an app which has not even released worldwide, is gathering this much interest. I have seen people gather around as I try the app and explore the real world around. The interest is not because of this being merely a new app that integrates augmented reality, but instead, it's the 'Pokémon' factor. Pokémon GO is riding a wave of nostalgia that a significant number of 20 something aged people in India can identify with. The original Pokémon series 'Pokémon: Indigo League' first aired in the 'Toonami' segment on 12 May 2003 on Cartoon Network India till early 2011.

Pokemon GO 3 Apple App Store

During the eight-year run on Cartoon Network, Pokémon gathered quite a following in the country. The first season had a gap of 6 years between its broadcast dates in Japan and India. This gap was reduced to a mere matter of weeks due the immense popularity of the anime in the country, and there was a boom of Pokémon based merchandise in the country. The merchandise ranged from trading cards, tazzos', lunch boxes, school bags stationery, etc. targeting its core audience.

Ironically Google had the exact same idea in 2014 as part of annual April Fools Day prank where an AR game will make you a Pokémon Master. Square Enix, the popular mobile developer of games like Hitman GO, Lara Croft GO, and Deus Ex GO even tweeted a welcome video for the game.

People are losing their mind over the new game because it does not just bring the usual mobile game to the table but instead, improves on the idea. People no longer had to bear with an age old online turn-based game. They don't want to shell out money to buy a Nintendo Game Boy, 3DS or even a Game Boy emulator to run a pixel based game. Even though a superior console game would have been great but nothing panned out on that front.

Pokemon GO 2

Pokémon GO puts everything into a new direction where Augmented reality is the driving force. The game is not without its issues though. The game in its current state sucks as it is riddled with bugs. In addition to bugs, the entire AR base of the game sucks the battery life out of your device. The usage of smartphone display, Gyroscope, 3G or 4G data connection, Compass and GPS for a functioning AR experience translates into a heavy load on your phone and its battery.

But let's chuck the inadequacies of version 1.0 of an amazing game out the window and concentrate on the reason why the game works and why the hype is real. The reason being the actual sense of being in a world with Pokémons around and the feeling of travelling, mixing the world depicted in the series and the real world into an amalgamation of pure magic. It's beautiful.

People are using it and walking around the neighbourhood catching Pokémon at night. They are getting late for their offices because they are busy catching 'em all. Police have also stepped in posting cautionary warnings, urging people to be safe.

Niantic, the game's developers—and incidentally, the developers of Ingress—have added a safety warning for users on the loading screen. But regardless of the warning, people are using the game in all sorts of places, from walking while playing the game to using the game while driving cars. They have even started to make Google Map location listings for Pokémon GO locations.

Pokemon GO

The brilliance of this game is in the way it brings the world of Pokémon to life around us. Even if the idea isn't new, we've seen a similar concept in Ingress. But with a Pokémon theme, who can say no? There are bugs aplenty and there are stability issues. The game is also heavy on the system, but I don't care. I love this game and I'm not going to stop till I'm a true Pokémon Master. Neither, I believe, will you.

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