New Zealand leads world in Pokemon reality game

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New Zealanders are first in the world to play the Pokemon Go ‘augmented reality’ game.

Don’t be surprised if a passer-by, head buried in their phone, stops suddenly in the middle of the road, and back-tracks right into a lamp post.

They may have just stumbled onto a very rare Pokemon hiding in plain sight.

New Zealand, Australia, and Ireland are the first countries to get the Pokemon GO “augmented reality” game, where players can catch Pokemon in the real world. It’s generating the sort of excitement that is seeing adults revert to childhood, striving to catch Pokemon while walking through the neighbourhood.

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Or better yet, while grabbing a cup of coffee at their local.

Since the Pokemon franchise first hit the gaming world near the turn of the last century, the Pokemon world has produced over two dozen follow ups to the core series, nearly 100 side games, a cartoon series, several comic series, and trading cards to boot.

So it’s no surprise that the new game has seen people from corporate professionals to school teachers flocking to their app stores to download the game.

The game allows players to train, battle, and capture Pokemon through “geocaching”, where players use their phones to hunt out Pokemon hiding in the real world.

Using the back-camera on your smartphone, the game has virtual Pokemon superimposed over real environments. Special terrain such as mountains and pools of water in the real world may be key to rare or legendary Pokemon.

On my way to work to this morning, eager to try out the app properly, I quickly parked the car before capturing a childhood nemesis: a Rattata, lurking in the car park.

The game mechanics are simple – to capture a Pokemon, tap and hold on to the Pokeball, wait for the green circle to get smaller, and then, with some luck, hurl the ball at the Pokemon.

As players move through their environment, phones vibrate and alert them to the presence of wild Pokemon, as well as “gyms” and landmarks, also known as Pokestops, where players battle each other.

Numerous Pokestops are dotted across all of New Zealand, where people can use incense to lure wild Pokemon.

“Gyms” allow player versus player battles, while Pokestops may also hold treasures like additional Pokeballs.

Enthusiastic players in Australia have run afoul of the police, with a police station in Darwin forced to put out a notice for folks to stop coming in just to pick up some Pokeballs.

More importantly, players need to watch their surroundings, not just for random wild Pokemon that appear, but also random wild humans that might crash into you head on, as one Reddit user found.

And because of the immense popularity of Pokemon, the game has already been experiencing server issues and significant down time with people unable to log in.

The app has also managed to burn through nearly all of my phone’s data with the few hours I’ve been able to connect, and the battery drain is equally impressive.

But I don’t care. I’m still going to catch ’em all.

Via : stuff.

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