For each and every kid in the world that grew in the late nineties and the early two thousands, there is one thing that is common throughout. They grew up watching the anime phenomenon called Pokemon. For the unfamiliar, this was (and still is) a Japanese game franchise inspired anime series that took the world by storm. It had all the elements that attracted kids and young adults alike. A relatable protagonist, epic adventures, great connect value etc. For a long time Pokemon ruled the cartoon network throughout the world. The anime and games along with multiple tie-ins deals, toys, and promotions grew into a cultural phenomenon that had its fan base in children and young adults alike.
Cut to Today
This was all in the late nineties and the early two thousands. Fast forward to just about one month ago, July 2016, when another cultural phenomenon called Pokemon GO yet again took over the world, accumulating over fifty million downloads on the Google App Store in its first week and a yet unknown number on the iOS App Store.
How it Works
Again for the unfamiliar, Pokemon GO is a smartphone game that makes use of augmented reality to present a scenario to the player where they must physically travel to locate Pokemon and then make use of a Poke-ball throwing mechanism to catch the Pokemon. The game offers several other features, but this is the gist of what it does.
Why it Works
Now what we need to understand is how this game with such a simple mechanism took over the world. The key ingredient that it worked upon was nostalgia. An analysis of the active users of the game ranged between people who were within the age group of 18-24, this necessarily accounts for all those children who grew up when the anime series was at its prime. These people got to experience what it would be like to catch Pokemon in reality.
This is where the physical aspect of the game and the exceptional use of augmented reality have worked wonders for the game. The simple mechanic creates a scenario where people have to physically travel to the locations in order to locate the Pokemon. Once they reach the location the game switches to the augmented reality mode where it uses the phones camera to digitally project a Pokemon in the surroundings on the phone screen. This brings in a feature in the game that differs from the peer games, since it serves a purpose for the people to physically move from place to place in hopes of finding a Pokemon.
Another way in which the game makes use of using the physical aspect is to make people walk a dedicated number of kilometres in order to hatch a Pokemon egg that they collect, the more they walk, and the more are their chances of hatching a rare Pokemon.
The Psychological Aspect
The game goes into the players’ mind because as per the research, the games that offer trophies make a gamer feel a sense of achievement. Although the achievement is not real, it triggers the hormone called dopamine which causes a “natural high” feeling in a person. Not only this, it is an addictive game because it encourages “collection”. It is a general liking of almost all the people to enjoy the behavior of collecting something.
Pokemon go has essentially played a gamble on the people’s psychology by working up the game in a manner that instantly capitalizes on the already popular fan base of the franchise and giving the people a massively multiplayer scenario in which they can interact with several other gamers alike and interact in a manner that has never achieved mainstream publicity. Sure the developers of the game Niantic had earlier brought out a game based on a similar framework, but it is only with Pokemon GO that has been licensed to them by Nintendo that they have been able to successfully achieve what they aimed for, that is creating a global community of Pokemon lovers.
Boost to Mobile Gaming
Pokemon GO has also created a phenomenon in the world of mobile gaming. Mobile gaming which was earlier considered secondary to Console and PC gaming has received a never seen before appraisal and interest because of Pokemon GO. People are actually leaving their houses in order to look for Pokemon. Pokemon GO has now more active daily users than Twitter. Sure the issue of battery drainage is there, but it seems people do not mind carrying power banks and portable chargers to assist them in their hunt.
Importance of Safety
The most important concern that can be raised in regards to Pokemon GO is that of safety outside home. People might become so engrossed in their phones that they might ignore important aspects like road safety. However the game does encourage people to take excessive care of their surroundings in order to be safe and sound.
In conclusion, whether you have been a fan of the game or not, you would have to be living under the rock to miss the huge dent it has made in today’s world. Its success can be called nothing short of exemplary. Whether you have tried it yet or not is a discussion for another day. Whether you should or not doesn’t even need to be a discussion.
Download it right now and we wish you happy hunting.
Hurry up because, you gotta catch ‘em all!