I grabbed Pokemon GO from the App Store on my iPhone last night to check out what all the buzz was about. It’s actually a very interesting use of the smartphone. Here are some insights I gained from 20 minutes of game play.
Pokemon Go is a mobile app from Nintendo available for iPhone and Android. To play, you have to move around IRL (in the real world.) When you move, your character moves in the Go world. This is a form of Augmented Reality. The game transforms the street you live in to one inhabited by Pokemon. To catch them, you walk around. I spotted my first Pokemon sitting on the edge of the bed where I first launched the app.
Pokemon Go uses real world landmarks as in game landmarks. For example, a real world trail head becomes an in game Pokestop. A game like this could never have been imagined in a world without the big data available in the cloud. How does Nintendo know to put 3 Pokeballs at this exact place near my location? Only through maps that have gotten so detailed, they’d never fit on a DVD. And, they won’t go out of date, either. Pulling the game world from available cloud data makes the game world ever changing.
Cute animals are a staple of the Internet these days. And Nintendo knows cute! When I spotted this little Charmander sitting on the bed, I had to call out to my wife to come see him. And she saw, through my phone camera, the same cuddly creature on the bed. And it jumped! Of course, then she threw the Pokeball and grabbed the guy. Of course.