Imagine waking up at 4 am to see your pre-teen kids walking in the door. That’s the new Pokémon GO game.
What it is: Pokémon Go is a free-to-play augmented reality mobile game developed for iOS and Android devices. The game allows players to capture, battle, and train virtual Pokémon who appear throughout the real world.
In simple English, it’s a app that sends people to different physical locations to capture imaginary characters. It released this week here in Hawaii. By 7am on Sunday, there were people standing in front of places like Sea Life Park staring into their phones and deeply engrossed in their own fantasy world. By people, I mean people, and not just kids. The guy we saw at Makapuu was probably in his 30s. The woman we saw at Heeia Kea Pier was probably in her 50s.
While some were casting physical lures into the water, one of the locals was casting virtual lures. Boy did my kids go crazy. Lures are in-app purchases that bring Pokémon to the area.
As for what I think? Definitely mixed reviews. I really wish the developer would turn off accessibility during certain hours — similar to the way some states prohibit the sale of alcohol? Say, midnight to 5am? Nationwide, there have been reports of IRL (in real life) robberies at Poké Spots, specified places where players replenish supplies for their game. Driving? Yeah, scary. People collecting imaginary characters and creating genuine hazards? What could go wrong?
On the other hand, my kids have seen more daylight in the past day than the rest of summer combined. They want to go places. They even love traffic (if you go slow enough, the game thinks you’re walking and gives you credit for “egg hatching”). My son even expressed a desire for more strenuous exercise this morning when some skateboarder beat him to his destination. (Side note: skateboarding and playing Pokémon GO? Ditto: What could possibly go wrong?)
So, if you’re out and about Honolulu and see your local vicar aimlessly meandering the streets with his smartphone? Give credit to Pokémon GO.