So unless you've been living under a rock, Pokémon Go - the new1 Augmented Reality Pokémon game came out this week.
After playing around with it for a bit, it seemed to be just single-player with two options:
- Visit "Pokéstops" to find items
- Catch Pokémon
(No, I wasn't level 5 yet.)
I asked on Twitter about multiplayer, and fortunately James tipped me off about a Facebook event for everyone2 to get together and play Pokémon:
@yaakov_h I guess we can al find out on Sunday for the planned meet up...— James (@timeimp) July 7, 2016
By this morning it had about 5,000 attended confirmed, and I figured I'd go along to watch the carnage of 5,000 Pokémon fans trying to walk around together.
Surprisingly, it was anything but. Although nearly every person I saw was playing Pokémon, people were spread out and going along at their own pace. It was a very friendly atmosphere, and watching the people ended up being more fun than playing Pokémon.
Some particularly memorable moments:
There was one person who was walking around the Royal Botanical Gardens with a bluetooth speaker, pumping out the Pokémon theme song (season 1). For about 100m behind him, everyone was humming along.
There was a group of friends playing together, trying to collect different types of Pokémon. When one person said rather loudly "I caught a Dratini earlier at the top of the steps", four people walking past suddenly changed direction, looking up from their phones to try figure out where the aforementioned steps are.
There was a woman with her two daughters, taking them around so that her kids could play. When the 6-year-old (approx.) exclaimed "Pikachu!," a group of mid-twenties men around her immediately asked "where?!"
People were mostly hanging around the areas where Lure Modules were set up, and there were enough Pokémon around to catch for hours on end3.
This is the most social I've ever seen a group of nerds be, and the best part is, we're having fun while doing it.
Ok, from what I hear it's just a Pokémon-branded reskin of Ingress (which I know nothing about), but if a new Call of Duty every year can be called a new game... ↩
It wasn't intended to be everyone, but Internet-coordinated events seem to have a habit of growing out of control. ↩
If you wanted to bypass the whole go-get-some-exercise part of Pokémon Go, I mean. ↩