Getting hard-core gamers on their feet

2016-07-26 06:00
A man plays the augmented reality mobile game Pokemon Go by Nintendo in front of a shop selling Pokemon goods in Tokyo yesterday. PHOTO: reuters

A man plays the augmented reality mobile game Pokemon Go by Nintendo in front of a shop selling Pokemon goods in Tokyo yesterday. PHOTO: reuters

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EGGS have massive health benefits and are seen as a crucial part of any fitness fanatic’s lifestyle — they are equally as important in the health benefits of Pokémon Go.

While the app hasn’t quite made its way to South Africa as yet, local users have managed to download it via the app hosting site sending the country into a craze — with unavoidable hoards of users clustering around what are normally arbitrary locations collecting pokeballs, eggs and potions.

The app has pinned areas outside of places of worship, post offices and other landmarks as virtual markers from where users can collection items within the game.

Pokémon, short for “Pocket Monsters”, is the hit TV series from the nineties which has since spawned the most downloaded app in U.S. history — the goal behind it being to collect as many virtual creatures as possible and become a master.

How Pokémon Go works

Once a South African user downloads the app from the APK mirror website, they install the game and are able to chose a “starter pokémon” from three creatures.

Once chosen, the hunt begins. Pokémon are around the country, “virtually” everywhere.

The app uses the user’s smartphone GPS to track Pokémon around them. Once the user taps a Pokémon, the smartphone camera is activated and the user is able to photograph it, as if it were in front of them.

A pokéball is then used to catch them with the flick of a finger toward them.

Pokéstops are places where users can collect more pokeballs after finishing them, and Gyms are places users can battle to gain more experience points and level up.

The user then has to walk around before new Pokémon appear.

Health benefits

Going back to the eggs.

While users are forced to walk around to actually catch Pokémon, Eggs in the game can be incubated and once walking, either two kilometres, five kilometres or 10 km, hatch a new Pokémon.

Most smartphones already encourage users to complete a 10 000-step-a-day walk with the device’s pedometer to track step count.

Pokémon Go user’s location of the smartphone forces the user to physically walk around to hatch Eggs.

A small display shows what Pokémon are near and can be tracked, but is often inaccurate, again forcing the user to walk countless steps to actually find them. The walking aspect of the game makes it far different from any other fitness apps available for download today.

Pokémon Go CEO John Hanke told Business Insider in an interview: “A lot of fitness apps come with a lot of ‘baggage’ that ends up making you feel like ‘a failed Olympic athlete’ when you’re just trying to get fit … Pokémon Go is designed to get you up and moving by promising you Pokémon as rewards, rather than placing pressure on you.”

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