Pokemon GO: Augmented reality fun

I made two rounds of my housing society before I could find anything. It was the humble Rattata, but something was better than nothing. And I had toiled for nearly an hour in the rain, and walked about four km.

It had been an inauspicious beginning. The first time I tried logging in to Pokemon GO (after duly downloading the file on my Android phone, as it is yet to be launched in India), I was booted off, that is, faced with a server overload. Thankfully, my next attempt bore fruit. A caveat: Intel-powered phones aren't supported. And this "unofficial" app crashes a lot.

Next, I had to catch my first Pokemon. It was fairly simple - one magically appeared in front of me and all I had to do was throw a Poke Ball at it (by swiping the screen) to catch it. And yes, before I hit this screen, I was asked if I wanted to turn on the camera. As I did, a Pidgey appeared on my bed. I captured it and it was added to my Pokedex.

After catching Rattata, I took a break and reached dry ground to peer into the screen. There was a Poke Stop (atop a cell phone tower) and Pokemons in my vicinity all right. But they were across a lake in the park next to my place. And that, by road, was four km away. Since you're given a finite supply of Poke Balls, one needs to pick up such goodies from Poke Stops. I ended up buying these as I didn't want to risk life and limb by going cross-country over mushy ground or jog on an insanely busy road.

That said, I didn't try catching any Pokemons while walking on the road. It's too dangerous on Delhi's roads - the one time I tried, I walked into a puddle; thankfully it was no stray Schumacher, or I wouldn't be here to narrate this tale.

In the park, I caught a couple of Hoghogs, and I wasted a few Poke Balls as they fly. The park attracts a lot of birds in the real world as well, so it was good to find bird-like and water-like creatures in the vicinity of trees and a lake. Next, I set up "Lures" (again, bought from the store) and it became a bit easier to catch the creatures.

One can power up Pokemons and do battle among them but I couldn't find not much more to sustain interest in the game; at least you won't find a lot to do till it is officially launched in India and more people play it. What is of more interest is how this points to how augmented reality (AR) could come to other games and apps and lead to a whole new experience. Pokemon GO might not have everything for gamers but it sure does coax you outside, but do exercise caution. Give a game a try if you can. And pray that I catch my Pikachu soon.

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