Nintendo’s new journey into the Pokémon universe, Pokémon Go, is already dictating people’s lives just 24 hours after it was released.
On Wednesday, Nintendo rolled out the new Pokémon app for iPhone to Asia and Australia, and over the next couple of days it will be slowly rolled out worldwide. The app uses GPS, letting you interact with (and catch) Pokémon, which are integrated into your “real-world view” via your phone’s camera.
As is the case with most iPhone games, it requires you to spend a lot of time with your head down, and there’s a warning before the game even boots up that tells you to stay alert.
Users spoke out about how the game had already begun controlling their lives. Most of the reviews so far have been positive, but several mention addiction.
“It’s taking over my life,” Australian Richie Cartmell said.
“Yesterday instead of taking a lunch break I just walked around catching Pokémon for 30 minutes.
“Then I purposefully missed my train so I could walk around Flagstaff gardens and get more Pokémon. Then I went for a 25-minute walk in the rain as there weren’t any Pokémon around my house and I needed to level up and get some more poké balls from the landmarks.”
Cartmell estimated he had already played for two to three hours and walked 6.66km with the app open.
He had tried using the app on public transport but noticed the servers would crash. Cartmell drew the line at driving while playing. “Nah,” he said, “I’d crash if I spotted [a Pokémon].”
Australia’s Northern Territory Police, Fire and Emergency Services sent out a warning to Pokémon Go players yesterday, warning them to look “away from your phone and both ways before crossing the street”. “That Sandshrew isn’t going anywhere fast,” it said.
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