Pokémon Go: Phenomenon between Game and Reality

Pokémon Go is the new game in augmented reality a collaboration between Nintendo, Game Freak and The Pokémon Company, and developed by Niantic. The game provides an opportunity to capture the 151 units of the first generation of Pokémon moving in their surroundings due to an increasingly synchronized via GPS map, mixing elements of gameplay with other real. Available for iOS and Android, the app also sees the opportunity to train and evolve your Pokémon, then challenge friends and opponents at various gyms located throughout the area. Pokémon GO app is one of the most successful of recent years: million downloads in a few days, international success and unparalleled Nintendo shares skyrocketing.

It soon became veritable craze: Pokémon GO, the game that has increased the Nintendo value of 7 billion dollars in a few hours of its release, it is a true recreational phenomenon, economic and social. And with the official arrival in Italy, which took place on the morning of July 15, 2016, the game is ready to conquer the lovers of the boot. That’s now data characters stored after the turn of the millennium explosion are back in vogue thanks to smartphones and apps: the game immediately won millions of US and soon the long wave has swept the world with an unprecedented buzz.

Pokémon Go is an augmented reality game created in collaboration with Nintendo, Game Freak and The Pokémon Company, and developed by Niantic. Currently the title is released for iOS and Android platforms, in a completely free, through the official channels of the App Store and Google Play. The initial release took place in the second week of July 2016 in three countries, namely Australia, USA and New Zealand, and reached Europe and Italy the following week. The game requires the download of approximately 50 MB of data, to which one must add the space needed to install storage and to apply for additional user-generated content.

Being an augmented reality game, which can overlay the gameplay graphics with real elements using the integrated camera on the device, the hardware requirements are quite significant. The first release was not compatible with the Intel CPU, but only with ARM processors. The game is also optimized for smartphone, even if it works normally on tablets via the zoom functions available in the mobile operating systems. Many of the negative votes recorded with the first reviews was due precisely to the poor quality of the experience of playing with the device did not live: to optimize the quality of the gameplay is therefore recommended that a careful analysis of the requirements, so as to understand the extent to which you can go after download and installation.

Pokémon Go is a game entirely imprinted on augmented reality, the choice of development that certainly justifies its incredible popularity. Inspired by the award-winning franchise was born in the ’90s with the eponymous cartoon, and later evolved with many titles for Nintendo platforms, the purpose of Go Pokémon is patrolling their city in search of hidden Pokémon in the surrounding area. To do this, the system first uses geolocation services, to identify the user’s location on a map at any given user, making use of Google maps. Moreover, met a small animal to catch, you can through the camera to overlap the element of actual image game.

Not only catch, however, since Go Pokémon allows you to evolve your Pokémon, launching into challenges with other players at the various “Gyms” distributed throughout the territory, gain points and pass levels and much more. Currently, there are 151 first-generation Pokémon, ready to upgrade to the full set of 700 in the next release. Also, the game does not allow now direct interaction with other players via messaging systems, or the opportunity to interact with their Pokémon with moments of entertainment, features, but they may come in the future.

The initial gameplay Go Pokémon is quite simple, although the nature of the game does not make it suitable for home entertainment, because it implies the ability to move outdoors. Here are some basic information, and certainly not exhaustive, to begin immediately to play.

When you first open the application, after the splash screen of Niantic, user is prompted to enter the game through the account normally used for their mobile device, such as that of Google, or via the Pokémon Trainer Club. The latter is a portal that brings together all the titles of the Pokémon series and allows you to collect, in a systematic way, all the data on their achievements and levels achieved for each game. Last but not least, it provides additional features such as monthly newsletters, special codes and much more.

After agreeing to the TOS, you will be offered the choice of a male or female avatar, so the possibility to modify certain attributes of the base, such as skin color and hair. After this step, the player is presented Professor Willow, game guide, which will appear from time to time to explain the basics of gameplay and provide additional information.

Once the initial set-up, you enter into the action. The first step is the capture of one of the three Pokémon proposed startup: Charmander, Bulbasaur and Squirtle. To do this, simply tap on one of these three creatures will open shot in augmented reality, with the Pokémon in the top of the screen, and the lower you will see a Poké Ball. Just throw it in the direction of the Pokémon, with a swipe from the bottom up, to capture him. A capture occurred, the screen will display the technical specifications of their Pokémon, including the user-editable name, the element of belonging, the weight, the height, the score in “Stardust” and “Candy”. These two elements will serve, in the pipeline, to facilitate the evolution of your Pokémon. If the image in augmented reality was not to your liking, using the lever at the top right you can choose to show your Pokémon on a default background.

With the capture of the first Pokémon ends the initial stage of the game. From now on, the user has to physically move around to find other Pokémon to add to their collection. However, before continuing, it is well give a look at the interface and the various options offered.

The Pokémon Go interface is pretty basic and it shows, in essence, the player placed on a map, details of which are set by the GPS position as well as from Google maps. At the top right you will find a compass to orient in the direction of the cardinal points, while on the left occasionally appear a Poké Ball white animated icon indicating the timing in progress with the game server.

Bottom left, however, is an icon for the user account, with the chosen name, as well as all level statistics and score choices. On the right, however, there is a white bar that signals the presence of Pokémon in their surroundings: it will be helpful, for approximation approach, to see if in your area there are other Pokémon to catch. In any case, when a Pokémon is in the immediate vicinity of capture, the application will warn you via a notification to vibration.

Wandering in search of Pokémon, occasionally you will come across some Pokéstop, special places indicated on the map in blue. These are usually adjacent to the most populated areas of the city, such as squares and community centers. At the Pokéstop will be possible to acquire additional tools, that will be generated from time to time via a swipe on the screen.

Similarly, from time to time you may encounter some Gyms, places to compete with other users. To access the gym must have reached level 5 Coach, as well as choosing a team in Blue, Red or Yellow. In “Gym Girl Friends” you can train their Pokémon, increasing the power and level, so that they are better performing in the fighting. In “Gyms Rivals” Instead, we challenge with the team in order to assign the gym to your team. It plays in defense and, if victorious, will be awarded a bonus in Pokémon coins. The combat controls are very simple: with a tap you hit, with one swipe you avoid the blows. You can use special shots, hold down the screen until the Pokémon will not enter the special attack phase, you can also change their Pokémon during the challenge to maximize the capabilities of attack.

Based on augmented reality, and inviting the user to move outdoors, Pokémon Go requires a certain degree of attention, so that you avoid accidents or being accessed inadvertently banned or private areas. The map of the game, in fact, does not provide any information on road traffic, obstacles, institutional sites, restricted areas and more.

Since this is an application very hungry for resources, as well as outdoor use, it will also be useful to increase the brightness of your screen to ensure a good view outside, and equip themselves with external batteries or charging enclosures if necessary. The network connection must always be stable, even if the data consumption is quite reduced, equal to about a dozen MB per hour.

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