In just over a week of release, Nintendo and Niantic’s mega-hit mobile game Pokemon GO has become a worldwide phenomenon despite the fact that it is still in the process of being rolled-out in some territories. The game, which uses Augmented Reality software to let players chase the titular “Pocket Monsters” in the real world via GPS geocaching technology, has already turned many unlikely urban landmarks into hot-spots for legions of players.
Now, New York’s Central Park has gotten a taste of what happens when a rare Pokemon appears in its vicinity – and the results are eye-opening.
Mashable is reporting that on Friday night, Vimeo user Woodzys uploaded a video to the site showing what happened when a relatively rare Pokemon called Vaporeon materialized in an area of Central Park near a footpath just off the street. In the brief clip, a huge mass of players are seen converging on the spot – some exiting stopped cars and others dashing across the street in order to be close enough to grab the elusive creature for themselves.
Because Pokemon GO uses an individual interface for each device it’s installed on, large numbers of players can all collect Pokemon of their own (even rarities) from the same spawn-points, which are generated semi-randomly on maps based partially on terrain and timing. Resembling a cross between a fox and a mermaid, Vaporeon is considered an especially prized “Water Type” Pokemon not often seen in the wild – though players can “create” one (or one of several other elemental variants) by manipulating the evolutionary path of a lower-tier Pokemon called Eevee.
Amusingly, the event closely mirrors the climactic moments of the teaser-trailer that first announced the game almost a year ago, wherein a huge swarm of players converge in Times Square in order to confront and capture the powerful Pokemon Mewtwo. While criticized at the time for being an unrealistic depiction of how popular/sociable an ARG could become, it would now appear that the prediction was not far from the truth – especially with Pokemon GO now having officially become the biggest mobile game in U.S. history.
The game’s continued success has caught much of the gaming world utterly by surprise, especially considering that some of it’s main features (including the ability for individual players to pit their Pokemon against one another in combat) have yet to be fully implemented and the game has yet to be released in certain territories – including Japan, where Pokemon originated and remains remarkably popular. The explosive popularity has revived speculation that a previously-announced Hollywood bidding war for rights to a live-action Pokemon movie could soon yield an official announcement.
Pokémon GO is now available for download on Android and iOS.