Postcard from Pokemon Go

Pokemon isn't a new phenomenon, we've seen it before.

This time it's different though. A company named Niantic has created and released an Augmented Reality version, and, boy, has it take off. For the few who have no idea about the new game, you install an app and the locations of Pokemon creatures can be seen superimposed on a map of the real world. You have to go to them, so with this version, you also get exercise.

Even my partner has downloaded and joined. Mind you, we both think that after a week or so, the novelty will have worn off, and it's going to become one of those apps that no longer gets opened.

Groups of players congregate in selected locations and chase the less common Pokemon. The police in a number of places have expressed concern that players concentrating on the game are getting too close to traffic, ignoring what's going on round them. Darwinism perhaps?

The other day, a couple of news reports that caught my eye. A tourist was found on an Indonesian military base chasing a Pokemon. A Chinese newspaper expressed official concern that the game was used for spying by the US. After all, what better way could there be for the US to identify secret Chinese military bases then by checking places that people didn't go?

The tourist is an idiot. Many countries have little tolerance of strangers wandering onto military bases, so if they're not in prison they're also very lucky. As for the Chinese article. Do they really believe that the US doesn't know the GPS location of interesting Chinese military sites?

Then there's South Korea. You can't play Pokemon Go there because the maps are owned by private companies and Niantic don't have the rights.

And, of course, Saudi Arabia has renewed it's fatwa against Pokemon. Go figure!

You may get run down playing the latest comter game, but, hey, you're outside!


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