A lot of people are wondering what the heck is going on, but it appears that something called Pokemon Go has taken over the world.
In a story headlined “What is really behind the Pokemon Go craze,” The Washington Post reports: “If you see people — adults and kids — meandering around town these days, eyes glued to their phones, chances are very high they are not texting or looking at emails but searching for Pokemon, the cute, cartoon critters that debuted in Japan in 1996 and won the hearts of every fifth-grader since.”
The report adds: “On their screens, players of the viral mobile game ‘Pokemon Go’ are seeing these creatures pop into existence alongside real-world physical objects. The mole-like Diglett peeks out of a toilet. A flaming demon Shetland called Ponyta gallops across the National Mall. [An] ostrich-like Doduo appears on top of the hold button of an office phone.”
The augmented-reality game has its roots in Ingress, an earlier game that launched in beta mode in 2011 and became the first big success for location-based games.
USA Today notes: “Pokemon Go’s addictive nature has already sparked concerns about players trespassing, injuring themselves, getting mugged and being mistaken for a ‘suspicious person.'”
The report notes that as the game plays out, “the real world and the digital world may collide in ways that, more often than not, will cause confusion and make people uncomfortable.”
USA Today quotes Brett Oppengaard, a professor of mobile, location-based media at the University of Hawai’i, warning: “Whether you want to be in the game or not, you’ll be in the game. If it’s not Pokemon it’ll be geocaching or Ingress. That’s the unusual part about this. There’s not one game space. They’re infinite game spaces, and they’re all layered on this invisible plane.”
The game is encroaching on media in a variety of ways. Here’s an example …