Note: The plural form of Pokémon is Pokémon. Try not to get confused.
Admit it, the only way you could have heard about Pokémon Go is social media. You would think it’s because of a fan page or a trending hashtag, but no. It’s because, almost every friend of yours posts a picture of them catching a Pokémon – or Pocket Monster on some well known street. Pokémon Go is an augmented reality game, though not first of its kind, and has taken the world by storm. What has struck the nerve is, Pokémon is a flashback to the 90’s kid’s childhood. It’s a wave of nostalgia that hits you when you hear those familiar Pokémon names which made your evenings post school worthwhile.
To make sure I don’t miss out on things, I searched and downloaded the app from a random third party website since it’s not officially released for India’s Android and iOS Stores yet, while sitting at work. And instantly, Pokémon started appearing around me. Under the desk, in the adjacent cubicle, inside the washroom. Except, all were via the phone’s display. The more I collected, the bigger the hype started to get.
I then learnt that once we get enough Pokémon, we get access to Gyms. And Gyms are these virtual places placed at real places, like the Marathahalli Muneeswara Temple between my workplace and home, where we get to battle and train. It all felt so real. You find Pokémon on the streets too, which encourages people to walk more. What’s interesting is, Pokémon spawn based on the terrain. So if you’re close to a water body, be prepared to catch a lot of water based Pokémon. Also, you find eggs in designated Pokéstops and you need to walk 2, 5 or 10 kilometers to hatch them based on their type, which would result in you getting a top notch Pokémon.
So once my roomies got into the Pokémon groove, we decided to go Pokémon hunting last night. Four of us took off at 12:30 am, equipped with fully charged phones, power banks and Airtel 4G dongles along a road which led to two gyms. We had multiple aims for the night. One – to capture the gym by beating the holders, two – to catch rare Pokémon on the road along the way, three – to hatch our eggs. And boy, did we have fun. This was a new experience altogether, and we walked 10km in the process. Not for nothing has this been rated as the best fitness app of the decade.
This game has made people who have never visited a gym in their lives walk 7km searching for virtual gyms. For instance, one of my roommates wants to go to Cubbon Park now to catch grass based Pokémon this weekend. And he’s never been to a park in the one year he’s been in Bangalore. More people have started walking to work, schools and colleges now than ever before. Who said video games are bad?
So the next time someone says “There’s an Ekans between your legs”, don’t be shocked. Install the app and start playing instead. Because, you only live once and you gotta catch em’ all. It’s your destiny.
PS: If you want to know how we conquered a level 4 Pokégym with an Arcanine, Pincir and Pidgeotto, contact me.
Picture credits: Google, Facebook and fellow trainer Vishnu Sai.