Earlier this July, my childhood dream finally came true. Over the series’ 20 year history, I’ve played more than 30 Pokemon video games, and with each new release I’ve wanted to become a gym leader and to catch ‘em all – a feat I accomplished, once, back in the first game. Now, as a 28-year old working on a Ph.D., I can finally achieve my dream with the help of Niantic’s latest augmented reality game, Pokemon GO.
I can find a Pidgey (the Pigeon Pokemon) on a city sidewalk thanks to GPS telling Pokemon GO where I am. Finding a Goldeen (the Goldfish Pokemon) on the same city street would not make sense.
In Pokemon GO, as I wander around my city, my phone periodically vibrates indicating that I’ve found a Pokemon. I quickly look at my phone and tap on the Pokemon to enter a battle with it. The game knows where I am thanks to GPS, the Global Positioning System, and uses that information to show me location-appropriate Pokemon, such as Water-type Pokemon close to rivers and Fire-type Pokemon in deserts.