Tuesday 15 September 2015

Pokémon Go announcement!

Otherwise titled 'How I end up helplessly lost with a flat phone battery in 2016'!

How had I not heard about this sooner?! Pootling through my Google+ feed I came across a Pokémon themed post by 8bitoctopus featuring this Nintendo trailer announcing Pokémon Go for Android and iOS devices:

Oh my goodness! I can catch a Pikachu on my way to work?! I am far more excited than I should be about this, but eee!

It's over 15 years since I first played a Pokémon game, and I was probably too old then. Now I'm charging into my mid-thirties and still planning to have fun with ridiculously age-inappropriate games! I hope whoever intercepted the memo I was supposed to get about growing up has fun with it, because I definitely never saw a copy. Luckily I know lots of other like-minded people, and these days I even have a small child to share with/blame...

I'm encouraged by the Niantic association with the project - this former Google startup was responsible for Ingress, the augmented reality sci-fi mobile game that splits the world into two opposing factions fighting for control of 'portals' made from real-life landmarks. I played this a lot for a while, and it was really good fun until the annoyance of constant phone battery drain made it impractical. The game itself was well implemented and supported by a raft of other media that you discovered as you played. Lots of clever ideas in there, only limited (for me) by the hardware it was implemented on.

This could make or break Pokémon Go for me - the constant GPS and screen-on time must hammer any current smartphone battery. From what I understand the little Pokéball wearable peripheral (Pokémon Go Plus, apparently) is intended to minimise screen time, letting you know (via Bluetooth from your phone) when something is going on nearby. Perhaps this will help with the energy consumption, although I can see this being consigned to the 'random stuff' drawer along with my old Pokéwalker (remember those?!), amiibos and pretty much every other gaming peripheral I've ever owned that wasn't a controller.

I suppose I'll have to wait and see when the game comes out in 2016. I so want this to be good! After all, gotta catch 'em all...

Pikachu polymer clay and Pokéwalker!
Polymer clay Pikachu modelling his retro Pokéwalker! The battery may have died long ago...