If any one game has taken the world by storm this year it’s the mobile game Pokémon GO. GO is a free, location-based augmented reality game that encourages players to roam around their local neighbourhoods searching for Pokémon, using the phone’s camera to virtually place the wild Pokémon into the real world. It’s a simple game with basic mechanics but nonetheless is massively popular, with many users sinking hours upon hours into the game and many claiming to have lost weight doing so.

The success of Pokémon GO as an exergame is two-fold. Augmented Reality (AR) is a massive area of development in game-design right now, and GO is arguably the most popular AR game to date. By merging digital realms with the real world, AR games are able to provide the player with a unique experience, transforming your living room into any number of remote locations for you to explore, mazes for you to traverse, ghosts to bust.

But even more crucial than the technology is the fact that Pokémon GO doesn’t brand itself as an exercise game. We all know how challenging it can be to motivate yourself to exercise, and that stigma can follow you into the digital world – if the only incentive in playing the game is exercise then is it any more interesting than just exercising? This is a topic that we’ll be visiting a lot more over the coming weeks, but sufficed to say that the gameplay, mechanics and rewards system of Pokémon GO keeps you from really focusing on just how much walking around you’re actually doing.

If you’re just getting yourself into active gaming, Pokémon GO is a great place to start. It’s free-to-play on Android and iOS (providing you have a compatible device) and is engaging enough to keep you clocking-up the miles for more than just a day. Just keep an eye on where you’re walking!

– EC

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