Gotta catch ‘em all
Mahmood Hossain

Pokémon Go's success has boosted Nintendo’s stocks to $7.5bn

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The animated series Pokémon has been around for a little over two decades. The series itself garnered an entire generation through television, eventually giving birth to the card game and videogame series for Nintendo’s Game Boy. And to no surprise, when the developers made Pokémon Go for the iOS and Android smartphones, people all over the world went bananas. The app has become so popular that the server had crashed a few times from the moment of its release. That, of course, didn’t stop people from downloading and heading off to unchartered territories to find random Pokémon.

Fans of this franchise will tell you how they’ve been waiting for this kind of game or app since the introduction of the show back in 1995. Unfortunately for us here in Bangladesh, the app is available for download but won’t be fully functional. It’s like when Google decides to roll out their new updates for Android, you’ll have to be a bit patient with this popular new gaming app. What we mean by that is, you won’t be able to catch too many Pokémon in the initial stages. Whether you have an Android or an iPhone, one thing is for sure: your battery is going to take a huge hit.

A whole lot of Poké balls

The app is very similar to that of the Game Boy games of the past. However, when you had control of the lead character Ash in the videogame, this app makes it all about you. Well, kind of. Even though you are in control of your own adventure, the customisation is very limited for the time being. This, until the updates start rolling in, is what every user around the world is facing. Although the rest of the world has the advantage of playing and catching Pokémon right away, it shouldn’t stop you from beginning the app and setting things to your liking. Go ahead and get familiar with it.

What this game/app is aiming to do is let the users experience a real life Pokémon adventure.

The start of the app, again, is quite similar to that of Ash’s adventures from the beginning of the franchise. You are able to first choose your avatar with some pre-set colours or themes. Soon after the game’s Pokémon professor introduces you to three Pokémon that you’ll be able to start the journey with. Don’t get too excited. You’re only allowed to choose one for the moment. Once you’ve chucked your Poké ball to catch your first pokemon, you’re then able to view your position in the city you live in.

You read that correctly. You’ll see your avatar, through your phone’s GPS, on a Google Map-like layout. Each step you take, your avatar follows. That’s right folks, you’ll need to perform in real life, rather than planting your butt on the couch. Here’s the cool part. Once you’ve set out looking for new Pokémon on your map, you’ll tend to find certain Pokémon in their own habitat. For example, a water-based Pokémon will be found around a body of water or Pokémon like Meowth can be found within the hustle and bustle of the city.

The end game

The entire goal of the game is to get people to actually move around the city, be active and explore. Then again, sometimes some places are better left unvisited. Recently, one player ran into a dead body while searching for a particular Pokémon. How creepy is that? True story. Apart from running into unfavourable places, and we urge you all to play this app very carefully, the app isn’t completely usable for us here in Dhaka. As mentioned before, once the developers continue to add more features (like Google Map), they’ll be able to deliver the service in the app that everyone around the world is able to use right now.

You can explore, catch Pokémon, find Pokémon gyms, find other trainers to team up, battle others, trade with others and watch your progress grow. While it’s great to see your phone’s camera turn on when you’re about to catch a cute little creature, it’s good to keep in mind this isn’t the same gaming experience as you could find in a Game Boy cartridge. In any case, it’s got all of the major elements in the Pokémon world, which makes it the perfect casual gaming app for your smartphone. And let’s not forget, it’ll take plenty of your phone’s data and battery. Not to mention, do not Pokémon Go and drive. That’s a no-no, so stay safe.

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Mahmood Hossain

Mahmood Hossain is the Assistant Editor for Avenue T at Dhaka Tribune.