A mobile game based on the enduring Pokémon franchise that would go on to become a massive phenomenon around the world was released one year ago today.
Pokémon Go, developed and published by Niantic, was released for iOS and Android phones and mobile devices in the US and some other countries on July 6th, 2016.
Players would see this screen while the app loaded. Courtesy: Niantic / Nintendo
The concept of the game brought the popular Nintendo Pokémon franchise to mobile. The player controls a trainer and ventures around locations based on the real-world locations they are at, thanks to GPS technology. Random Pokémon spawn that the player can catch to add to their collection. Items are obtained through Pokéstops, which are based around landmarks, parks, and other locations of interest from around the world. Players can also put their Pokémon in gyms to battle or win the gyms.
The game became a MASSIVE hit overnight around the world, as players ventured out to catch Pokémon and obtain items. At first, the game had the first generation of Pokémon only, but has since added the second generation as well. New features, upgrades, tweaks, and text fixes have been added to the game since its release.
Pokémon Go was covered massively by news media around the globe, and many businesses promoted the fact that they were a Pokéstop to increase profits and encourage visitors and new customers. The game also promoted walking and exercise, as players had to walk and travel to truly experience the game. (Driving doesn’t work, as the app says you are traveling too fast and locks out the Pokémon and Pokéstops.)
While the game isn’t the incredibly massive fad it was upon the first few months of its release, it still remains immensely popular, and has been downloaded over a three-quarter-of-a-billion times.
PERSONAL NOTE: Pokémon Go was a fun experience in multiple ways for me. It was a fun app to play on my phone, and it helped that I work near many Pokéstops and gyms. It was a delight to drive into work and see so many fans walking around my place of employment to catch, battle, and obtain items. Seeing Pokémon in news coverage both locally and nationally was a delight as well. I still play the game on a nearly-daily basis.