Pokemon Go, a mobile version of the 1990s game from Nintendo Co. has become an instant hit and the most downloaded app on both Apple and Android phones.

The gamers are going gaga over it because it has everything they have ever wanted and dreamed as children, it’s worth leaving the house. Even non-gamers are talking about it.

It’s more than just a game because it has brought people together. It’s rare that a video game or imagination dominates the national conversation on social media which is why its success has inspired copycats to launch duplicate versions of the mega game. It’s more than just a major game release. It’s a phenomenon.

Pokemon Go brings together two key features: the location-mapping common to many apps, and augmented reality, or AR, which overlays a virtual world on the real one. After downloading the app, players navigate an animated version of Google Maps, searching for Pokemon characters to capture and add to their team.

The technology comes from Niantic Inc., a company founded by Google and spun off last year. In 2013, Niantic created Ingress, in which opposing teams capture “portals” based on real-world landmarks. Then Niantic teamed up with Nintendo and created Pokemon Go, which became an international phenomenon, despite being released only in the US, Australia and New Zealand.

But the game has brought much confusion with its rise as its unprecedented growth makes more and more headlines. The free-to-play augmented reality game has been linked to injuries, robberies, lost jobs, love connections, pleas from police, the discovery of a dead body and a $7.5-billion US surge in Nintendo’s market value — among other things.

The game downloaded has some privacy concerns also. The creators of the game can read your e-mails since you have to sign in with your Google account. The reason behind this is that the game asks for full access to your Google account, something which is not on other apps and games.

Despite the cons of the game, it’s hard to ignore the raging excitement among the smartphone users.

Video games have long had a bad rap for keeping kids inside. Smartphones are turning an entire generation into anti-social zombies and couch potatoes. But Pokemon Go requires couch potatoes to get off the couch until they get tired or there battery doesn’t die off.



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