Why did the Pikachu cross the road? To get to the other side, and escape the mob of Pokémon fanatics trying to capture it with Poké Balls, of course! With the recently announced mobile app Pokémon GO, the dream of every ‘90s kid has finally come true – the chance to encounter a Pokémon in real life, catch it, train it and prove that they’re the one, true Pokémon master.
The iOS and Android compatible app will launch in 2016, but a hype video illustrating just what the hell this ridiculous sounding venture and app is about was released to fully explain the concept, and make the wannabe Ash Ketchums of the world salivate over the prospect of emerging from their parents’ basement, walking out into the cruel world on a 7-Eleven jaunt for a slushy and actually encountering and catching a real life Magikarp Gyrados.
Once encountered, you’ll have the ability to use an assortment of different Poké Balls to capture the Pokémon for your very own. After all, collecting is the name of the game when it comes to Pokémon. Between the ever popular trading card game and the countless iterations of handheld video games, to be the very best, catching them is the real test. ‘90s kids like myself can certainly attest, as that very mantra was undoubtedly the soundtrack to their Saturday mornings for years. Any kid who had the magical blessing of being bestowed with a pack of Pokémon cards containing the holy grail – the holographic Charizard – knows how rabidly fervent people can get about collecting Pokémon.
From there, the app will also notify you if any persnickety or cocky trainers who you happen to encounter in the real world wish to do battle with you. Users can also digitally trade Pokémon they’ve caught for others, similarly to the way the Pokémon games of the Game Boy and Nintendo DS variety worked – minus that obnoxious connector cord that many of us ‘90s kids remember having to cart around for our Game Boy versions just so we could get our blasted Kadabras to evolve into Alakazams, am I right?
The app itself will be free, but there will be many in-app purchases to upgrade and equip yourself with to become a true Pokémon trainer worth their salt. After all, do you think being able to catch a Dragonite is really gonna come cheaply? And don’t even get me started on Mewtwo, the top dog of the Pokémon kingdom. In the promotional video, the fanaticism over Mewtwo causes hundreds of Pokémon trainers to rush into Time Square and dispatch their arsenal of Pokémon in an all out assault on the poor pocket monster in efforts to catch it. Bottom line: watch your back, Mewtwo!
Backed by The Pokémon Company, Nintendo and Niantic, Pokémon GO seems to be taking a wise approach to stroking and eliciting the nostalgia of the ‘90s kids that grew up and ushered in the Pokémon era that has become a worldwide phenomenon and empire today. Based on the video, it looks like the focus will be on the original 151 Pokémon, the ones that purists and initial adopters recognize best and pretty much choose to only acknowledge in the wake of expansion after expansion after expansion. A quick Google search to satisfy my curiosity tells me there ‘s a discrepancy of just how many Pokémon exist today – 721, or 718 depending on if you count unreleased “legendary” Pokémon and mega evolutions. Meanwhile, I highly doubt any of those 500+ new ones can hold a candle to the badassery of Squirtle, thank you very much.
Pokémon GO is the exact kind of thing that just might help Nintendo bring the seemingly sensible twenty-somethings who grew up and lost sight of their Pokémon manifest destinies to come back into the fold and relive their childhoods. Because, let’s face it, being an adult ain’t all that it’s cracked up to be. And if you’re telling me I can run into a Ninetails on my way out of a liquor store, I very well might want to bring home a fire-breathing fox with me. If anything, it’s just another way for me to show off my digital prowess. Some people lust after Instagram hearts, others wanna roll deep with a Pokémon squad. I choose you, nostalgia!