The past few weeks have seen Pokémon Go take the world by storm. Office-goers, police officers, Olympic athletes, senior citizens, politicians and children of all ages have been swept up in this global craze that shows no sign of abating
"Players are more likely to cross at a time when the crosswalk signs are not giving a clear go. They are more likely to cross in the middle of the street as opposed to a crosswalk," said Earnest.
"I think Pokemon Go is the potential recipe for more injuries and more pedestrian or traffic accidents," he said. All of those points may well be valid, but the problem with Pokémon Go has less to do with those who can’t get enough of it – running into oncoming traffic to catch a Pokémon, quitting their jobs to focus on the game and whatnot – than the philosophy (or lack thereof) of the app itself.
But is it really possible to declare a place a no-go zone for people hunting the cartoon monsters? Which places have declared war on Pokémon?
Sites that have expressed irritation at Pokémon GO players include private properties, government buildings, historic monuments and memorial sites.
The museum at the Auschwitz Nazi death camp, the Holocaust memorial in Berlin and Japan’s Hiroshima memorial have all complained about visitors bent over their mobiles trying to catch Pikachus instead of contemplating the weight of history.
Iran and Saudi Arabia have also declared blanket bans on the game.
For the uninitiated, here’s the multi-version strategy explained: You’d buy a Game Boy and then six months later, there’d be another one, identical in every way except it was red in colour. And a few months later, there’d be a green one. With the genre-defining (for the 64-bit gaming era) N64 system, this strategy wasn’t restricted to colours (of controllers and consoles) and opacity (yes, they made see-through versions too), but also branding eg the Zelda special console and so on. And guess what, there were enough completionists who would buy every single version – gotta catch ‘em all and all that.
Over the years, Nintendo would release Pokémon Gold and Silver, Ruby and Sapphire, Diamond and Pearl, Black andWhite, X and Y to take advantage of the capabilities of each new games console. But more than any of those versions, its Pokémon Go that goes most against the ethos and ideology of what Pokémon is supposed to be – as envisioned by creater Satoshi Tajiri, who was an avid collector of insects in his youth.
Go, as its name would suggest, throws you right into your own city on a quest to capture Pokémon. That’s where the problems start. There’s no context and nothing to explain just why on earth you are catching these things.
To get as many as possible and complete the set?
To kill time?
To be like all your friends who are also doing it?
To find some replacement for the now-fairly-passé Candy Crush?
And to anyone who has played and loved the actual games, that – and not the danger of being hit by vehicles, walking off a cliff or losing a job – is the reason to steer clear of Go. Instead, download an emulator of the original games and prepare to step into the real world of Pokémon.
The Pokémon Company, the Japanese firm which manages the hugely popular brand, says Niantic is working on improving the algorithm.