Sydney Gamers Celebrate Launch of Pokemon GO

13 Jul 16

Sydney Opera House Captain Cook Cruises Sydney Harbour

Sydney's streets have become overrun with small cartoon monsters and people glued to their phones as they try to catch them. But what is this strange group of adventurers? They're Pokemon 'trainers' and they're on a Pokemon GO walk to try and catch as many of these little monsters as possible. It's the latest app to hit our screens and it's taking over the internet and people's lives. Pokemon GO is a battle of Pokemon trainers to 'catch em all'.

It all began in the 90s when a video game for Nintendo spawned a pop culture phenomenon. Fictional creatures known as 'Pokemon' were caught and trained by humans to battle against one another for sport. The subsequent cartoon series, movies, comic books and trading cards were a quintessential part of the childhoods of children in the late 90s and early 2000s.

While you'd think this new app would be embraced by the children of the current generation (and it is), its biggest market is people in their late 20s who are now reliving their youth. The Pokemon Go app launched in Australia just days ago and already, hundreds of Poke-fans have joined together to find and capture their favourite pocket monsters all across Sydney.

Using internet services and GPS, the app turns the whole world into a region map for Pokemon and immerses players into the world of Pokemon. The augmented reality game is taking the world by storm, combining elements of the fantasy world of Pokemon into the real lives of its players via their smartphone. Using the phone's camera, cute and quaint characters are then animated into real surroundings, with players able to 'catch' these Pokemon by swiping vertically.

The interface uses a Google Maps-style layout and tracks a person as they walk via GPS. The maps show nearby train stations, landmarks and points of interest which represent 'pokestops' or possible locations of Pokemon users can catch. The aim is to catch as many new monsters as you can, with on screen displays showing which monsters are nearby. They can pop up anywhere at any time and it's your job to catch them.

Organised by Guy Blomberg, the content manager for gaming festivals such as Pax Australia and Oz Comic-Con, the idea was for fellow Poke-fans to meet up and hunt Sydney's iconic landmarks to find these creatures and claim their territory. Beginning at the Sydney Opera House, the walk continued on to Circular Quay, Barangaroo, the Rocks and Darling Harbour. There was no set duration, with the walk set to continue for as long as their batteries would hold out. The gamers came prepared, with many stocked with extra, external battery packs to try and outlast the group of dedicated fans.