This is What’s Trending Today.
Pikachu, where are you?
That is on the minds of millions of people in the U.S. who downloaded the Pokemon Go smartphone app after it launched July 6.
If you remember the Pokemon card trading game from the 1990s, you are probably familiar with Pikachu and some of the other animated characters.
But now the cute monsters can be collected outdoors using your phone’s camera, map and location tracker.
As gamers walk around their city or neighborhood, they can encounter and capture colorful characters. The characters are captured by throwing virtual balls into hoops near the character.
Players can also look for landmarks around their city where they can collect more balls and other in-game rewards. Some of the landmarks are statues, museums, police stations and public transportation stations.
The game was created through a partnership between Nintendo, the Japanese company that created the original game, and a company created by Google called Niantic.
Many people are excited about the game. People who mostly stay inside have spent more time outdoors looking for the characters. The characters have strange names. For example, one is called a Sandshrew and another is a Doduo.
News reports say that people are meeting their neighbors for the first time.
People are posting their discoveries of characters in funny locations via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Characters have been found on the New York City subway, in trash cans and in police cars.
The app even encourages people to exercise, since one element of the game is related to the hatching of eggs. New characters are born from the eggs that only hatch after the player has walked 2, 5 or 10 kilometers.
There have been some problems related to Pokemon Go, however.
One player in the U.S. state of Wyoming found a dead body while she was looking for a character along a riverbank.
In the state of Missouri, thieves set a trap for other players and robbed them.
The game is extremely popular. But some technology experts say the app unnecessarily requests access to private information, like emails and gamers’ locations.
The maker of the game, Niantic, says it will release an update that corrects this problem. The game is currently available for smart phones in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand. Other countries will have access soon.
And that’s What’s Trending Today.
I’m Dan Friedell.
Words in This Story
update – n. a change or addition to computer software that includes the most recent information
element – n. a particular part of something (such as a situation or activity)
landmark – n. an object or structure on land that is easy to see and recognize
virtual – adj. existing or occurring on computers or on the Internet
monster – n. a strange or horrible imaginary creature
cute – adj. having a pleasing and usually youthful appearance
animated – adj. produced by the creation of a series of drawings, pictures, etc., that are shown quickly one after another : produced through the process of animation