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Pokemania takes over the UAE!

posted on 15/07/2016: 1030 views

Pokémon GO has taken over the world's imagination, and the UAE is no exception. For those who are unfamiliar with the augmented reality mobile game, its concept involves humans signing up as Pokémon Trainers to catch fictional monster-like creatures called Pokémons. These Pokémons are trained to battle each other for sport.

The Nintendo franchise has been around since 1996, from trading cards to Game Boy video games. Pokémon GO is the latest instalment but unlike the previous games, it's a free-to-play mobile game. The aim of the game is the same as the previous ones - to "catch 'em all" - but this one mixes elements from both the mobile game and the physical world.

As an augmented reality game, Pokémon GO uses your phone's GPS feature and clock to detect where you are, and make Pokémon appear around you at any given time, making them appear against the real background using your phone's camera.

The idea is to encourage people to move around and explore their environment. If you are by a lake or on a beach, you will find water-based Pokémon. If you go to a park, you will find grass or bug-type Pokémon. If you find a Pokestop - based on popular real-life locations - you can buy things that can help you in the game, probably why you're likely to see young people running around Dubai Mall lately, trying to catch Pokémon.

The reason for its popularity is partially the nostalgia factor. This game is a dream-like fantasy that Pokémon lovers wanted since the franchise began in the 90s. "I think I enjoy Pokémon GO because of the competition; everyone is trying to be better than each other. We all want to be like Ash Ketchum, the main protagonist of Pokémon," says 18-year-old Yusuf Shehabi, who has been playing Pokemon games for nearly 13 years.

But, this teenager is also pointing out how the game is interfering with people's everyday lives. "I have met people who've been skipping work to play the game - it's becoming a serious issue."

"People should also learn how to avoid dangerous areas because they can get into an accident; just be patient while playing the game," he added.

Aniha Kumar, an 18-year-old student used to dedicate every evening to Pokémon. "I would walk for three hours trying to level up, and I did this for three days straight. But I realised I was getting too involved, and toned it down. Now I use it only when I'm walking to a friend's place or if someone is driving me somewhere."

Indeed, the game is addictive. But a big positive you can gain from Pokémon GO is exercise, since you have to move around and go farther distances to catch more Pokémon.

There is some concern too, regarding Pokémon GO's addictive nature and invasion of privacy. But if this game proves to be just another fad, it will soon die out just like Flappy Bird. – Khaleej Times -


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