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Presenter: You’re not imagining it. There are even more people on phones wandering around in their own world than normal. Something’s just arrived which gives them a whole new world to wander in.
Brace yourselves for Pokémon Go. It’s a computer game but you play it in the real world. An app on your phone turns your actual surroundings into a sort of cartoon version of them and you then have to wander around and search for Pokémon, little cartoon creatures. I’m off!
And those Pokémon now have an awful lot of people after them. The game’s already broken records in the US for a mobile game (Can you see him?) with its mixture of real and virtual worlds.
Guys, guys, guys, excuse me! Are you playing Pokémon?
Even on day one, catching fans didn’t take long.
Why do people like it so much?
Fan 1: In a way, it’s bringing a few people together. Like down there, we saw two people. They were catching a Pokémon and another group of people came and said, ‘Are you catching this Pokémon? We want to catch it too.’
Presenter: So it’s like a sociable computer game?
Fan 1: And it’s, yeah, it’s social, a social thing yeah, I guess.
Presenter: How old are you guys?
Fan 2: Ah … 24!
Fan 3: I’m 24!
Presenter: You say that like you’re a bit embarrassed.
Fan 3: Yeah, I think there is no limit, to be honest. I think there are also gamers who are, maybe, 16, but also 30-year-olds.
Presenter: Pokémon – that’s short for pocket monsters, by the way – started as a Game Boy game twenty years ago. You might have seen the cartoon. That then spawned a craze for toys and trading cards by 2000. And now, they’re back. And this expert reckons that history is the game’s secret weapon.
Ryan Broderick (Buzzfeed): People my age and younger have always had Pokémon in their lives, which means we’ve always wanted to actually feel like we’re in the game, and this is pretty darn close.
Presenter: Have you been hit by traffic yet?
Ryan Broderick (Buzzfeed): I have come very close to being hit by a bus, but in my defence, the Pokémon was very high level and it would have been really great to catch.
Presenter: Totally understandable. Worth a head injury.
Ryan Broderick (Buzzfeed): Right!
Presenter: There have been some minor Pokémon-based injuries reported, but children’s safety campaigners are worried the game could cause much more serious problems.
Emily Cherry (*NSPCC): This app has been released without having the right child safety features associated with it. So, one of the things we’re most concerned about is the potential for adults to lure children to particular spots where they want to seek and access Pokémon.
Presenter: Police in London have today issued official safety advice for players. The general gist of it: don’t end up in a road or in a river because you’re trying to catch them all. Dominic Reynolds, 5 News.
*The NSPCC is the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. You can find their advice for parents here: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/keeping-children-safe/online-safety/pokemon-go-parents-guide/
What do you think about Pokémon Go? Are you trying to catch them all?!