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Pokémon Go fever hits Dunedin – What is all the fuss about?

By now you may have heard about the latest digital craze, Pokémon Go, taking the world by storm, and it hasn’t taken long for Dunedin-ites to jump on board.  Don’t be alarmed if you see people acting strangely around the Botanic Gardens duck pond or The Octagon after dark, it’s just the latest phenomenon in gaming, but this time something is a little different. 

Unlike the original game, Pokémon Go encourages people to get out and about in the real world and catch ‘Pokémon’ who “appear” around you.  By using your phone’s GPS and clock to detect where and when you are in the game, Pokémon will appear on your phone’s screen, combining real time footage and digital monsters, where you can literally go out and catch them.

Pokémon originated from Japan in the late 1990s and its popularity immediately caught on internationally and was soon dubbed ‘Pokémania’.  The latest release in Pokémon gaming has fulfilled the Pokémon fans’ ultimate fantasy of bringing the characters to life in the real world, constructing an ‘augmented reality’ which to them, is the closest thing in bringing these little critters to life.  Watch a demo of how it all works here.

The craze has become so popular here in New Zealand that the NZ Police have even issued a statement on their Facebook page urging for players to “choose safety” while in pursuit of the virtual monsters.  They continued “watch out for real-world hazards while using your phones to hunt Pokémon around our communities…be aware of what’s happening around you; and respect other people and their property.”

We hear that you can find some critters hiding within the walls of Otago Museum, but just remember safety first, keep an eye on what’s ahead of you and respect our collections, even if that means a Pokémon is hanging out with the upland moa!  If I was a Pokémon, I reckon I’d be quite safe hanging out in the Animal Attic!

If you’re still looking for some real life interaction, don’t forget Otago Museum has a calendar full of fun and interactive events happening over the school holidays.  Discovery Squad, our school holiday programme, is running now until Friday 22 July along with some Pop-up Science demos as part of the NZ International Science Festival.  The Curious Case of Science is a full day of family fun this Saturday 16 July and starting this weekend we will also be hosting a feast of Cadbury Chocolate Carnival activities.  For more information on any of these events, please see our What’s On guide.

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