Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past week, you’ll no doubt be aware that Pokémon Go is currently taking over the world
The mobile app, which uses augmented reality to overlay Pokémon into real life, has become so popular that more people are playing it than are swiping left or right on Tinder, and it’s challenging Twitter as one of the most popular apps.
Of course, any piece of software that turns users into real life Pokémon trainers was bound to take the world by storm – it’s a fantasy many of us have wanted to live out since we first came across the Pokémon franchise all those years ago.
But the app’s not been without its problems.
With the game assigning Gym status to a map’s landmarks (gyms being areas of the map that you can control through successful Pokémon battle against other users), there’s been all sorts of issues; from police stations being invaded by players, to people’s houses becoming a hotbed of Poké activity.
But aside from the logistical problems posed by the new game, Pokémon Go‘s huge success is a massive, double-edged sword for fans.
Now anyone can catch ’em all
Pokémon has always been massive. Since the game’s humble debut on the original Game Boy 20 years ago with Red and Blue, right up until the present day, the franchise has attracted thousands of new players with each iteration.
But though school day memories are filled with link cables, and illegal trading card swaps (they were banned at many schools), there seemed to be a notable drop-off in the Pokémon brand’s presence in the intervening years.
It was still huge of course, but new trends and playground fads took over, and it was no longer the ‘in’ thing. Those who stuck with the game through the countless additions to the Pokémon roster (729 and counting), were the die-hards, and a kind of ‘ironic cool’ draped itself over the whole thing.
Skip forward to now, and everyone’s at it. Pokémon Go is attracting the attention of everyone from your kid neighbour to your grandparents adding a new dimension to their country walks.
yeah alright mate, no need to show off pic.twitter.com/X6A7F8znpi
— Tom Phillips (@flashboy) July 13, 2016
Pokémon Go is addicting stuff at the best of times (trust us, we’ve tried it), but you’d hope that those not so invested in the series could at least put the thing down for a few minutes.
So intent on catching ’em all and conquering the local Gyms are many, that every waking moment becomes a hunt for the critters.
Even when not glancing through your phone’s augmented screen, you can’t help but see potential Pokémon hiding spots everywhere. It doesn’t help that the pocket monsters show themselves in the most unexpected places…
What other mobile app could possibly interrupt the pleasurable experience of a nice, cold pint?
Pokémon Go players, we feel your pain.
It’s arguably taking the series backwards
Earlier we mentioned that there are currently 729 Pokémon on the ‘roster’, with even more expected to be added with the released of Pokémon Sun and Moon at the end of the year.
But Pokémon Go currently only supports the ‘original’ 151 monsters, and although we’re in no doubt that more will be added with time, the extra skills and tactics brought on by the later creatures’ attack types are lost for the time being.
Sure, if you want a ‘fuller’ Pokémon experience, you can head back to the main games, but with everyone currently burying their heads in to Go, you’d be missing out on a vital piece of the Pokémon series if you were to give it a miss.
It’s a tough choice to make, with each equally weighted in the pros and cons stakes.
It’s basically Skynet
What would a new, massively social app be without a bit of conspiracy, eh?
Pokémon Go is but the latest app to fall under scrutiny for breaches of privacy, and so far, the claims are worryingly substantiated.
The app tracks your location, has access to your phone’s camera and all of your personal information, and the developers can “disclose any information about you” to “government or law enforcement officials or private parties” if they so wish.
So make your choice Pokéfans. Do you continue to wander your streets, catching ’em all but giving up valuable personal information in the process?
But there are upsides…
We’ve talked through the negatives, but the app does also bring with it a lot of positives.
Reports of mass meet-ups, people brought together by bumping into other users, players rediscovering their city’s underrated spots, and just generally getting up for a walk that they wouldn’t have otherwise gone on, all speak in the game’s favour.
It remains to be seen just how long Pokémon Go will hold the public’s attention, but for now, it’s everywhere.