Video games are all about finding a new world. When you immerse yourself into a game you can have superpowers, become your favorite character, or just escape reality. You are interacting with these pre-built worlds in a sort of flow chart. Nintendo now has the idea to allow the game to immerse itself into your world. Pokémon Go is rumored to use augmented reality and location technology to let you be a Pokémon trainer. Since the first teaser trailer, Pokémon Go has been highly discussed and is one of the most anticipated mobile games of 2016, and the lack of information regarding the game has only increased interest as to what we can expect. Although we don’t know too much, we have learned some general facts about the game that should get Pokémon fans excited. Here is some basic information about what we can expect to see:
Encountering Pokémon will be done via the mobile location technology, creating a map of where different Pokémon are hidden. A Pokémon will show up on your mobile device similar to how Google Maps displays businesses. It will be really interesting to see how many Pokémon will appear, as the game could require you to walk ten steps or all the way down the road to see the next one. The next question is if certain Pokémon will be randomly encountered, or if they will be found in different regions of the world. Pokémon Go developer Niantic, Inc. has given details indicating that different types of Pokémon (grass, water, fire…) will be in exclusive environments. This means that water Pokémon will most likely be found in beach locations, plant Pokémon will be found in forests, and so on. This is a really cool feature and makes augmented reality such an interesting idea, as the difficulty of finding different types of Pokémon is what makes the handheld games so much fun. Repeatedly encountering the same common Pokémon before finding a rarer type makes it that much more rewarding. We can only speculate, but also having certain Pokémon available exclusively in different countries would make the other social features of the game even better.
Pokemon.com explains the process of catching Pokémon. It seems that you will hold up your mobile phone towards where the Pokémon is located. Once the little guy is in the field of view, you hold your finger on a pokeball and swipe towards the Pokémon to create a throwing motion. Part of the fun of the handheld games was to weaken the wild monsters in order to make them easier to catch, so if just swiping the screen lets you catch the Pokémon, it could be a bit of a letdown. Hopefully we will see a battling component available when encountering wild Pokémon, although there is no news of this yet.
Trading and battling will still be the highlight of the game, but we still don’t know how either of these will work. What we do know is that some awesome new social features will make both of those highlights even more fun. During the game you will pick one of three teams. Teams will claim public locations as gyms. A gym can be challenged by opposing teams to claim the area. Apparently each trainer can only give one Pokémon to defend their gym, making teamwork that much more important. This is such a great idea, as not only does it create a way to get your friends involved, but also creates goals and brings longevity to the game.
PokeStops and Pokemon Go Plus
Pokémon Go wants players to go out and explore the world. The integration of PokeStops at public locations such as museums gives perks for trainers, and players will be able to get items such as great balls. You will even be able to get eggs at some PokeStops, and since this is a free mobile game, there will also most likely be plenty of in-app purchases to buy at these locations. Another interesting feature for Pokémon Go will be the Pokémon Go Plus, a wearable device that alerts players via Bluetooth when the application has a notification. The device will have a LED light, and also vibrates to notify the trainer of any events. This is definitely a cool feature that will be more of a way for players to notice other players. While doubtful that every player will get one, if this game turns out to be as good as it seems there will be plenty of people that will spring for this nifty accessory.
The features of Pokémon Go are all pretty awesome, but the coolest may be still to come. Nintendo could create a whole new trend in mobile gaming. Think of the possible Nintendo ideas that could follow: just relaxing outside? Use your phone to play duck hunt with imaginary ducks coming over the real-life trees. Taking a morning run? Create a racetrack against Mario to a certain location and see other people’s personal records. These are just half-assed ideas, but you get my point. Nintendo’s introduction into the mobile market with Pokémon Go may be the start of something very new and exciting.