Scarcity of PokéStops and PokéGyms has not prevented the augment reality game from becoming a sensation in Lahore
Kamil, 13, walked into his aunt’s house in Gulberg and "caught a charmander which was lurking in her garden." The Augmented Reality (AR) game Pokémon Go is becoming quite a rage in Lahore, especially among the teenagers.
The game which took the world by storm soon after it was launched on July 6 this year, is based on the popular gaming franchise Pokémon and allows the players to capture, battle and train the Pokémons who appear on their devices as though they were present in the real world.
Developed by NIANTIC, it is a free-to-play game for android and iOS devices.
The reason behind the game becoming immensely popular is that it requires you to physically walk around and capture Pokémons in your area. "I love the concept," says Mah-e-Lukah who claims to be a huge fan of the franchise. "It’s good that people are actually going around in their neighbourhood, meeting new people.
"Children helping their friends during the game is another positive part of it."
Despite it not being officially -- or, shall we say, legally -- released in Pakistan, fans of the game have found ways to download it on their smart devices. Taimoor, 14, took a long time to download it on his phone "since it’s not available in Pakistan.
"Like my friends, I had to create an account where the region had to be USA!"
Scarcity of PokéStops and Pokéman gyms has not prevented the game from becoming a sensation in Lahore.
Old-time fans of the franchise and strangers alike have hopped on the bandwagon.
Lahore consists of only 35 PokéStops out of the 2.3 million around the globe. For Ali, who is based in Askari X, "It’s quite difficult to find Pokémons here but the enthusiasm with regards to the game is unmissable."
Some of these are even present near Lahore’s historical monuments such as the Badshahi Mosque and Minar-e-Pakistan.
Along with tourist attractions, residential areas also comprise these PokéStops and PokéGyms including Model Town and Faisal Town. Fanatics can be seen hoarding these areas at different times of the day.
Lahoris of all ages have made this game their new hobby. Young adults have a better understanding of the game due to their attachment to the franchise since it was first introduced in 1996.
Eye witnesses have reported seeing players at it while crossing the busy roads of Lahore such as the Mall. Its popularity is increasing by the day. "It’s truly different from anything I’ve ever played before on my phone," says Salaar Khan, an O Levels student.
Lahoris have gone to the extent of creating new accounts with different regions for the purpose of downloading the app. Articles on how to download it in Pakistan are being published.
The game has become the topic of social gatherings. At some places it has even become the reason for getting together with friends. It has allowed the residents of Lahore to interact with each other in a positive manner.
One of the features of the game involves team building with fellow players which allows for a golden opportunity for meetups among friends.
Pokémon Go is making a favourable impact everywhere around the country. Its interesting features include customising your trainer, joining a team to be a part of a battle, and using your phone camera to put the wild Pokémon out in the live scene of where you are standing.
According to Maheem, 16, "Taking pictures of the Pokémon is an engrossing part of the game and makes it even more enjoyable to play."
Pakistanis have already started to make new records in Pokémon Go by completing the levels of the game within hours. A whole community of players of the game has come up in Lahore.
The app has generated a lot of income from around the world and Pakistan has also contributed significantly.
The obsession with the game seems to only increase by the day. Interestingly, previous games in the Pokémon franchise while being popular in their own right have not received the same amount of recognition.
Lahorites can be seen frantically crowding the local PokéStops to gain a bit of joy even if it’s temporary.