Nothing has quite risen to pop culture phenomenon status like Pokemon Go has—not in 2016, anyway, and really not in a good long while. Maybe you’ve played the game and maybe you haven’t—statistically speaking, you probably have—but in any case you’ve surely heard of it, and perhaps seen your friends swept up in Pokemania.
But just in case you’re a total noob, here’s the background: The Pokemon franchise started in the late 1990s with a pair of interrelated games for the good old-fashioned Nintendo Game Boy. A hit TV series, trading card game, feature film, and several video game sequels later, Pokemon is still alive and kicking. In Pokemon Go—an app-based, GPS-enabled mobile game—players actually have to walk or drive to different locations where they run into various Pokemon creatures; they capture and collect them, with the ultimate goal of catching every Pokemon in the game’s universe—something that only a handful of people have yet accomplished.
So there are the facts… and here are a few more: Five surprising things that even seasoned Pokemasters may not know about the game.
Pokemon Go is more popular than you might imagine—like, more popular than most social networks. That’s really not much of an exaggeration. Early data reveals that, in terms of the sheer volume of participants, Pokemon has eclipsed many leading social networks, as well as apps like Tinder.
The game has forced American players to come to terms with the metric system. The game relies on metric measurements, and as such, online searches for metric conversions have risen sharply. See? Who says video games can’t be educational?
It’s also spawned its own Uber-style ride service. Players have two options: Walk or drive to different real-life locations where Pokemon can be caught. But since driving while playing Pokemon can obviously be dangerous (more on that in a minute), many players have sought chauffeur services—and the market has responded!
Playing Pokemon while behind the wheel has already led to some accidents. You may think that no one would be so reckless as to play Pokemon Go while driving—but people are, and have, and it has already led to accidents. This includes highway accidents—like men driving into trees—but also even crazier happenings, like folks literally walking over the side of a cliff in pursuit of Pokemon.
Pokemon Go may very well keep Nintendo alive. After the epic flop of the Wii U, Nintendo needed a hit—and with this little mobile game, they’ve got one. Less than a week after the game was launched, Nintendo’s market value spiked by a whopping 60 percent—the financial ramifications of which could be felt for years to come.
See what we mean when we call the game a phenomenon? It’s a big deal, whether you happen to be a keen player or not—and that’s just part of the story. Only time will tell how the Pokemon saga continues to unfold!