POCKET MONSTERS: The
POCKET MONSTERS: The "Pokemon Go" craze has sent legions of players hiking around cities and parks in search of the collectable cartoon characters. Alan Diaz

OPINION: Pokemon GOes back to basics

POKEMON Go. If you are already rolling your eyes at those two words you better stop here.

If there is one thing we have learnt in the crazy week since Pokemon Go unexpectedly arrived in Australia (time-zones?), it's that if you didn't immediately become filled with nostalgia at the word 'Pokemon', then don't try to understand it.

It's just one of those crazy phenomenons.

For those of us (unashamedly myself included) who grew up with the game/ television show/ card game/ movies/ lunch box - Pokemon was one of those special parts of a 90's childhood.

Now in a new era and a new way, it's back and even more successful than ever but still using the formula which made it so memorable.

What made the original Gameboy game so immensely successful was the basic simplicity of it.

The turn-based gameplay was easy to understand, and the collectable nature of trying to complete the game, made it one of the first to make playing with someone else a big part of the experience.

Whether you were battling each other, or trading to finally get that elusive Pinsir, it was always best to have a few friends around for the ride.

Now, even though these co-operative features are yet to be released, Pokemon Go has made people get together all over again in new ways.

Using 'lures' to attract Pokemon to an area literally attracts people to be around you.

 

SPOTTED: Not all ‘gym’s’ are virtual.
SPOTTED: Not all ‘gym’s’ are virtual.

To put this into perspective, that's like everyone playing Fifa suddenly started having giant LAN-parties in a football stadium.

Look up from the screen, and suddenly there's people around you interested in the same thing as you, and enjoying having company along for the ride.

It might look strange from the outside, but it's no surprise that the conversation is already turning to how this could benefit someone's mental health. Rewarding users for going outside to hopefully encourage physical activity and however inadvertently interact with other people? Genius.

As long as in-game purchases don't take over, this is one of the simplest video games to cause such a worldwide craze.

Already as addictive as Flappy Bird, the ability to trade and battle other players will only make Pokemon Go an unstoppable force.

Even if you don't understand it, be happy that the Pokemon 'craze' gets people outside the house and having fun.

Fast facts

  • Pokemon Go has overtaken Tinder as the most popular mobile application.
  • The average user spends 43 minutes and 23 seconds a day playing the game.

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