Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Pokemon Ice Cream Truck Lures Creatures Inside With Promise of Charging Station

Orange County Truck causes a stir on social media. What exactly do they sell?

 

January 11, 2017

Apparently, Pokemon Go characters have more to worry about than just Poke balls. A Pokemon Go ice cream truck cruising the streets of SoCal lures the little guys with promises of ice cream (and a charging station, say some on social media).

Pokémon Go is a free-to-play, location-based augmented reality game developed by Niantic for iOS and Android devices. The game was the result of a collaboration between Niantic and Nintendo, by way of The Pokémon Company, and was initially released in selected countries in July 2016. In the game, players use a mobile device's GPS capability to locate, capture, battle, and train virtual creatures, called Pokémon, who appear on the screen as if they were in the same real-world location as the player. The game supports in-app purchases for additional in-game items.

Pokémon Go was released to mixed reviews, with critics praising the game's concept and the incentive to be more active in the real world, while criticizing frequent technical issues apparent at launch. Despite such reviews, it quickly became a global phenomenon and was one of the most used and profitable mobile apps in 2016, having been downloaded more than 500 million times worldwide. It was credited with popularizing location-based and augmented reality technology, promoting physical activity, and helping local businesses grow by way of increased foot traffic. However, it also attracted controversy for contributing to various accidents, as well as becoming a public nuisance at some locations. Various governments also expressed concerns over the security of the game, with some countries passing legislation to regulate its use.

After establishing a game account, the player creates and customizes their own avatar. Once created, the avatar is displayed on a map using the player's current geographical location. Features on the map include PokéStops and Pokémon gyms. PokéStops provide players with items, such as eggs, Poké Balls, berries, and potions. These PokéStops can be equipped with items called lure modules, which attract additional wild, and sometimes rare, Pokémon.

Gyms serve as battle locations for team-based king of the hill matches. PokéStops and gyms are typically located at places of interest. These locations are re-purposed portals from Ingress, Niantic's previous augmented reality game.

 

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