S'pore fans hyped up for Pokemon Go
Pokemon Go has yet to be released in S'pore yet, but local fans are already down with Pokemon fever
It has been everywhere on social media.
It has also been downloaded on twice as many Android devices in the US, compared to popular dating app Tinder, which is installed on 2.5 per cent of US Android devices.
It is not far from having more active users than Twitter on Android.
It is Pokemon Go, and the app has been the source for much entertainment and outrage since it was launched on July 6.
With 7.5 million downloads in the US alone, the augmented reality game has sparked a craze of people wandering the streets, hoping to capture virtual creatures on their phones.
CATCH 'EM ALL: A Pokemon appears on the screen next to a woman as a man plays the augmented reality mobile game Pokemon Go. PHOTO: REUTERS
The random nature of where the creatures can be found has led to awkward encounters, such as the discovery of a dead body.
Some are capitalising on the phenomena, such as the 24-year-old woman offering her services as a "Pokemon trainer" on Craigslist for US$20 (S$27) an hour.
Some cafes have made it mandatory that only paying customers get to capture Pokemon inside their establishments.
And one man here lost his job for his online outburst criticising Singapore for its lack of the app.
All within a week of the launch.
Based on the popular Japanese franchise, Pokemon Go is available so far only in Australia, the US and New Zealand.
No local release date has been confirmed yet. But this hype monster is already growing here.
Polytechnic student Naadhirah Razak, 20, told The New Paper she was thrilled when she heard it was being developed.
"Because the anime has existed for years - and is still going - it's something people of all ages are looking forward to," she said.
Mr Ng Soon Aik, 28, agreed.
Mr Ng, who said he has been certified as a "Pokemon Professor" specialising in organising video games by The Pokemon Company - the firm that manages the Pokemon franchise - has been a fan for 16 years.
"(If you are) able to enjoy your childhood again by just downloading the app, why not give it a try?" he said.
There has been speculation that it could be here soon.Niantic Labs, the company behind the game, has not updated the maps around Singapore. This means that even if you download the app, you cannot go further than catching a starter Pokemon.
Mr Jovian Chan, 26, is excited about other benefits of the game. The operations executive has been an avid Pokemon fan for 19 years, ever since he watched the anime on TV.
He said: "I'm looking forward to losing some weight (by walking around catching Pokemons) and bumping into strangers, knowing they are there for the same reason I am - to catch 'em all!"
What is Pokémon?
Launched for the Nintendo Game Boy in Japan in 1996, it was not until the international release in 1998 that Pokemon became a global phenomenon.
The anime series premiered alongside the video game and also brought the franchise some notoriety after causing epileptic fits in some children.
The inspiration for the game came from creator Satoshi Tajiri's childhood hobby of insect collecting. The name is a contraction of Japanese brand Pocket Monsters. The known "species" of Pokemon has grown in the last 20 years from 151 to 722. The franchise has expanded into all aspects of pop culture, with trading cards, figurines and comics.
Created by Niantic Labs, Pokemon Go uses GPS and your phone camera to let you catch creatures as though in "real life".
You can then train, trade and even battle Pokemon in the game.
Where will you go to find Pokemon?
Pokemon Go players in America have been visiting a large array of places to catch Pokemon - Central Park in New York City, cemeteries and even stranger's backyards.
TNP asked fans where they plan to catch Pokemon creatures once the app is released in Singapore
"Tourist attractions such as Chinatown and Sentosa are bound to have plenty."
- Zara Kettler, 25, graphic designer
"I've heard that the Pokemon characters in the game are location-based, so I want to see what kind I can find at places like the zoo, the beach and forests!"
- Naadhirah Razak, 20, student
"Maybe hospitals. Hopefully, I can find Blissey or Chansey there."
- Jovian Chan, 26, operations executive
"I wish to give hard-to-reach places a try. Places like Lower Seletar Reservoir, Jurong Hill or even Lim Chu Kang Jetty!"
- Mr Soon Aik, 28, manager of a Japanese company