Samantha Moore / Art Director

Twenty years ago, Pokémon Red and Green were released in Japan. Since then, there have been a multitude of installments in the series. When it was first released, Pokémon was typically played inside, similar to other games of the time, creating what would be known as “couch gaming”.

Fast forward to 2016, and the landscape of gaming has completely changed. Today, Pokémon is being played outside as the series’ newest installment – Pokémon Go, which has moved into the world of virtual reality.

Pokémon Go works through a phone’s camera. Looking around, players see pokémon appear on the screen as if they are really there. The game encourages exploration of the surrounding area to find bigger and better Pokémon. Pokémon Go is one of the first games of this nature to go national in the world of virtual reality gaming.

Pokémon Go is free to play and has become popular with people of all ages, even if they’ve never heard of or played Pokémon before. Until recently, gaming has been primarily dominated by consoles, but this wave of virtual reality has been growing in both size and popularity.

“It’s like building bicycles in the 1800s,” said Gamer’s Guild Advisor Dana Gibson to the New York Times. “Everybody had a better idea of how to do it, so everybody made a change, and the bicycles changed, and now they are what they are today.”

Gaming evolves like everything else, but is virtual reality the next big evolvement in the world of gaming?

Dana Gibson said he believes that Pokémon Go and other virtual reality games are the future of gaming. Pokémon Go encourages people to get outside and get active, which promotes a healthier lifestyle for gamers who may have been sitting on their couch for hours playing games previously. But with these benefits come drawbacks, such as potentially finding a dead body or getting hit by a car.

On July 14th, the Boston Globe reported that a Pokémon Go player found a dead body in Nashua, New Hampshire while playing the game. This is not the first time this has happened.

On July 13th, USA Today reported that a Riverton, Wyoming woman found a dead body, also while playing Pokémon Go. Two days later, on July 15th, a Pokémon Go player found a dead body in San Diego, California and reported it to the LA Times.

KSC first year Tyler Puisello talked about some of the other dangers associated with playing Pokémon Go. “I was driving. It was a green light. I started to go. I pressed on the brakes and [the person in front] just sat there on their phone looking down trying to catch a Pokemon.”

While there have been no reported injuries from people playing Pokémon Go on campus, people should still use caution, especially while crossing intersections.

Campus Safety Director Amanda Guthorn had some helpful tips for anyone playing the game.

“If you’re playing the game, hang out with one or two other people and just make sure you have each other’s back and stay away from areas you’re not familiar with. It’s a fun game, but you gotta make sure that your safety is somewhere up in the forefront of your mind.”

Some people believe Pokémon Go and other virtual reality games could very well be the future of gaming, but time will tell. Just like every other industry, the gaming industry can change seemingly overnight.

Peter Evans can be contacted at pevans@kscequinox.com.

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