Poke­mon still go­ing

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - NYO ME news­room@mm­times.com

AS Poke­mon Go in Myan­mar en­ters its sec­ond week in head­lines, the com­mu­nity of play­ers in Yan­gon has be­come a force to be reck­oned with.

Around 50 Poké­mon Go train­ers met at Sar J Poe, a co-work­ing and learn­ing space in down­town Yan­gon, on Au­gust 14 to dis­cuss tips of the trade.

They were vis­ited by mem­bers from a lo­cal char­ity – dressed in Pikachu cos­tumes – who ex­plained that they would buy lure mod­ules to draw Poke­mon and those that hunt them into cen­tral ar­eas. In re­turn, the rep­re­sen­ta­tives asked for do­na­tions to those af­fected by the sea­sonal flood­ing through­out the coun­try.

After the do­na­tion col­lec­tion, play­ers got down to busi­ness.

Level 16 trainer Khant Zin Lynn shared the his­tory of the Poke­mon while trainer Ko Lwin told trainees his knowl­edge of the game, in­clud­ing which phone models do not dis­play the game.

Co-founder of the newly opened Sar J Poe Natty Tang­meesang, said, “It’s a new theme and it is ac­tu­ally not avail­able in Myan­mar. Peo­ple can down­load it through APK, a third­party ap­pli­ca­tion on An­droid. Be­cause it is third party, there are tech­ni­cal er­rors.”

While Poke­mon Go is not of­fi­cially avail­able in Myan­mar, many play­ers in Yan­gon, at least, are able to catch ‘em all due to the coun­try’s prox­im­ity to Thai­land.

“I play my­self and learned a lot from my friends, such as how to play and where to catch. I feel like it is a good thing if peo­ple are ed­u­cated be­cause a lot of peo­ple don’t re­ally know how to play it,” Ms Tang­meesang added. “I think it’s bet­ter to have an ex­pert who knows the game well and can an­swer peo­ple’s ques­tions.” Poke­mon poses dan­ger to play­ers Though play­ing Poke­mon through an aug­mented re­al­ity is an ex­cit­ing fea­ture to the gam­ing world, it can be dan­ger­ous to those not keep­ing an eye out for what is in front of them.

Ms Lynn, a Poke­mon ex­pert, has ex­pe­ri­enced first­hand the col­li­sion be­tween aug­mented re­al­ity and re­al­ity.

“We were in Pathein when it was flooded look­ing for Poke­mon. A mo­tor­cy­cle was be­hind us and the driver was also play­ing Poke­mon Go. We re­versed our car be­cause of the deep wa­ter. Then the bumper of our car hit the front wheel of the mo­tor­cy­cle. For­tu­nately noth­ing se­ri­ous hap­pened. This is our first ac­ci­dent.”

Dolly Han­der­son, a Level 13 player, urged other play­ers to be safe and pay at­ten­tion to their sur­round­ings.

“We should be care­ful while cross­ing the street and driv­ing. Yes­ter­day, I saw a boy play­ing Poke­mon Go who was al­most hit by a car.”

Even play­ers who have suc­cess­fully caught a Pikachu or Bul­basaur with­out in­jury still find it chal­leng­ing to find the lit­tle crit­ters in Yan­gon.

“It is okay to catch Poke­mon in pub­lic ar­eas such as Ma­ha­ban­doola Park,” Ms Han­der­son said, “How­ever, when Pokestops are in pri­vate ar­eas such as Parkroyal ho­tel or in restau­rants, peo­ple ex­pect me to or­der some­thing. Oth­er­wise, they don’t want us to catch Poke­mon in their busi­nesses.”

At the train­ing ses­sion Ms Lynn in­formed play­ers that most of the Pokestops ex­ist near Yan­gon’s land­mark spots—no­tably the city’s churches and Sh­wedagon Pagoda.

A Level 12 player, Aye Min noted that “Pokestops don’t ex­ist near my town­ship, Ahlone. I have to walk to Sh­wedagon Pagoda if I want to catch.”

De­spite these lim­i­ta­tions, how­ever, the game has cre­ative a pos­i­tive wave, push­ing peo­ple to go out and be more so­cial.

“We even talk to strangers — hey, which level are you? What kind of Poke­mon have you caught? And we can even be­come friends,” said Ms Han­der­son.

Ac­cord­ing to posts on a tech blog, Mr Re­view, Poke­mon Go still doesn’t work in Huawei G Play Min, MeiZu M3 Note, OPPO R1, OPPO Joy 3, Hello Pre­mium 7, and Xiaomi Mi3.

Poke­mon stops around the world

As Poke­mon Go ex­pands around the world, it has be­gun to bring to mind a few main ques­tions.

Which sites are ap­pro­pri­ate to play Poke­mon Go? How does one safely play in an aug­mented re­al­ity when one’s re­al­ity is al­ready quite un­safe? How do lead­ers of na­tions where Poke­mon Go stands in op­po­si­tion of its ide­olo­gies re­spond?

Most re­cently, Poke­mon Go has re­ceived crit­i­cism as play­ers have been found catch­ing Poke­mon at the Holo­caust Mu­seum in Washington DC, the Auschwitz mu­seum in Poland, and the Hiroshima me­mo­rial in Ja­pan.

Ac­cord­ing to the AFP, or­gan­i­sa­tions can ask Niantic, the game’s de­vel­oper, to re­move a lo­ca­tion as a Pokestop or Gym. Al­ready the Hiroshima and Berlin Holo­caust memo­ri­als have dis­ap­peared from Poke­mon view­ers’ eyes.

Vol­un­teers col­lect do­na­tions for rent­ing the space at Sar J Poe, a co-work­ing and learn­ing start-up in down­town Yan­gon.

Photos: Aung Min Yezaw

Poke­mon T-shirts, de­not­ing Team Valor, Team In­stinct and Team Mys­tic, were avail­able at the trainer meet-up.

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