Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock since July 6, 2016, at least you know that millions of people around the world now spend every spare moment hunting Pokémon. (For the uninitiated who are about to correct my grammar, I’m sure Pokémon is both singular and plural, there are no ‘Pokemons’). It’s an international obsession, which saw the new ‘Pokemon Go’ app downloaded more than 15 million times in the first 6 days after its launch in Australia, Japan, and the United States.
What is a Pokémon? Technically, it is a small creature found in video games. Catch one and you can train it to help you fight others. The basic concept hasn’t changed, although (believe it or not) Pokémon are now 20 years old. That was how long ago it was when some smart computer scientists dreamed up the Pokémon video game for Nintendo’s Game Boy handheld. At that stage, most people didn’t have access to the internet and the Pokémon were strictly offline beasts. Still, according to Wikipedia, the Pokémon franchise has sold around 280 million units, making it the second most popular game franchise in history, based on unit sales. The franchise’s gross revenue has surpassed $ 46 billion during that period, which could technically make the Pokémon empire bigger than Greenland or the Cayman Islands. Those guys should seriously think about getting a national dragon!
For the past two years, some other smart people working at Niantic, partly owned by Nintendo, have been stepping away, or should I say ‘pokemon’ (yes, that’s a real word) to produce the latest and greatest edition ever released. . on July 6, 2016. On that date, the cages were opened and the Pokémon ran, swam, and flew to the four corners of the earth where they can be found today. Right now. Can I see them. Of course, I can only see them through my Android mirror, but Niantic promises that very soon I will have my own personal ‘Pokemon Go Plus’ wearable device, a kind of lapel clip, which will alert me to the presence of a Pokemon nearby. and let me look it up without touching my phone. Wherever you go on earth, you’ll see these lapel clips, buzzing around. Buzz. Buzz. And you thought cell phones ringing in cinemas was a distraction!
Why does this matter anyway? Please be patient while I put on my geek boy glasses for a moment. First of all, Pokemon Go is a kind of ‘augmented reality’ system. Many individuals and organizations have tried to bring these systems into the mainstream, without commercial success. The initial popularity of Pokemon Go shows that augmented reality could really be a new revolution at our doorstep, changing our lives more than texting and selfies (for example). Hunting Pokémon is just the beginning of this revolution. Second, the convergence of artificial intelligence and augmented reality opens the door to a world where constant companions will be with us wherever we go, greatly enriching our experience of the world. Think Siri in Anavar.
Some readers will remember ‘Clippy’ and other attempts to purportedly enrich user experiences with desktop productivity software. If you don’t remember Clippy, consider yourself lucky. Clippy was an annoying wannabe who sometimes made you want to hit the screen just to get him to go away. And maybe that’s the point here. We do not want enrichment imposed on us. What we want is an enrichment that is there when we need it or choose it, as a friend in our life whom we invite to come to places with us. Pokémon can be alluring and magnetic, but they don’t invade our space unless we accept it. In short, friends are for when we want to play or share experiences and sometimes when we want to open our hearts to a good listener. News Flash: Dr. Pokemon will see you now.
However, sometimes friends lead you astray and get you in trouble, and apparently “‘I was collecting Pokémon’ is not a legal defense,” according to Western Australian police. Really? So if I chase my imaginary monster friend into your backyard, can’t I plead insanity? (Find “Pokémon Madness” online. That’s one thing). I heard that people are putting up signs on their properties now, telling Pokémon trainers not to go in there. In fact, some lawyers suggest that if you come on my property and take my Pokémon, it is robbery. You have been warned.