You’ve seen them “Poké walking” on every street, day and night, phone in hand. Maybe you’ve downloaded the app yourself to join in the latest craze. Yes, everyone is talking about Pokémon Go! Just a week after its introduction, the augmented reality (AR) game has gone viral, surpassing Twitter in popularity and Facebook in engagement.
Downtown Boston and the North End / Waterfront area have not been immune. In fact, looking at the Gotta Catch’em All map, Boston looks like ground zero for catching Pokémon.
No city ordinance is keeping Hypno off Hanover Street nor Tauros from blocking Atlantic Avenue. Even the Dept. of Homeland Security has fallen victim to Dratini at the Coast Guard base. Hitmonchan is hiding out at Old North Church and that pesky Squirtle is making itself home at the New England Aquarium.
For the uninitiated, the WSJ video below has a rundown. It covers how the AR technology works and some of the safety issues in connecting the virtual and physical worlds (hint, look up … Pikachu isn’t worth getting hit by a car!).
On the positive side, there is hope that the way we interact with our electronic devices might start connecting us with the people and places in the real world. It’s true, just today I spotted many more people looking at all the historic signs and plaques we have scattered in the North End … they’re all in the game. Yes, that’s right, part of the appeal seems to be that the game increases interaction with the real world. It might even get the addicted masses off the couch.