augmented reality meets mobile gaming: the future plays outside

The Pokémon Company and Niantic Labs show how it’s done, others must be following their lead soon: the company enters new territory with the augmented reality mobile game „Pokémon Go“. The response is outstanding.

Childhood dreams become reality in a way that they were not expected to. Just like Ash, Misty and Rocko, now we can go for Pokémon hunts and catch the cute and not-so-cute creatures. Whereas in the past, we were only able to be a part of the Pokémon world by playing the cards or through the use of Nintendo Gameboy Classic, we can now enter the world in a way that is unbelievably close to reality.

The bottom line of the game is to catch as many Pokémon as possible and to make them pop out of their shells by walking as many distances as possible. The players can join one of three teams and try to conquer arenas. At several places there are Pokémon to catch, the locations may vary from one moment to another. The map is developed by no one less than the Google Earth and Google Maps developers themselves.

Although it is with great relief (especially for parents) to recognize the gamers leaving their rooms and actively spending time at the fresh air, the dependence that they expose themselves to is distressing. The closeness to reality increases the fun factor and the fascination over the game. A game without an ending. Like it is usually the case nowadays. The opportunity of playing anywhere and at any time makes for a wasted search of a quiet, peaceful place. The urge of accessing the game (just because it’s possible to do so) is overwhelming. Pokémon locations are chosen randomly. Children wandering around in search of non-existing creatures. As much joy the new game experience brings, the risk of compulsive gambling rises by the omnipresence.

The effect of a healthier lifestyle due to the game mostly taking place outside and the greatness of the experience for the players are the only arguments to look upon favorably. What is the next level? Where does this version of augmented reality lead us? Can we consider as pure improvement of the status quo just because gamers get off their couches?

Should people really spend all their time staring at a screen, wandering around without anything like appreciation, graciousness, let alone awareness of the beauty of nature which they are surrounded by – in real life that is?

-your tiny woman in a giant world

from letters to snaps

The adorable movie “You’ve Got Mail” was released in year 1998. A heart-warming story of two email friends who kept taking their time to write each other about their thoughts and feelings, about everything that is important to them, choosing their words wisely. The act of getting in front of a computer, starting the computer and finally typing in thought- and meaningful words was valuable and a romantic gesture back then. It was not so much different from sending actual physical letters. It was a consciously made decision and pleasant anticipation of communicating whatever Joe Fox (played by the brilliant Tom Hanks) and Kathleen Kelly (played by the one and only Meg Ryan) were concerned with. Exchanging personal thoughts and issues soon led to romance lighting up.

Letters and emails were romantic and much appreciated by the receiver. What do people send each other nowadays to show that they care and that they pleasantly take time for expressing themselves to someone in a romantic way? Emails being outdated as a way of personal and romantic communication, people now swiftly send short messages. Defining messages these days means including snaps, vines and other fast and short communication tools. Those are great for having fun with friends, quickly arranging appointments and simply entertaining people. But doesn’t it feel like all these modern messaging tools cut back on romantic communication? Shouldn’t we deliberately sit down and take the time to actually write important things every once in a while instead of sending out random ultra short videos or odd pictures?

-your tiny woman in a giant world

to share or not to share

Being open and sharing your inner world, the thoughts within your mind and the feelings in your heart, can be intimidating to some people – basically because they are too timide or feel exposed in some way. Others possibly might want to deal with situations on their own, maybe otherwise they feel weak letting others share in their thoughts and feelings. Perhaps their pride will not allow to show weakness in case of a problem. Or they just do not care as much about anything happening to them, whether it is positive or negative.

There are humans who are different than the party previously described: they have a strong need to share. A problem or situation is not solved and a question that they ask themselves is not answered before involving other humans and share with them. As for our time, I would very much like to include all active social media users in this category. But also outspoken people in relationships, friends and family members belong to this group. They spill out anything they experience, deliver you insight into stories you simply do not need to know for further existence and survival. Sometimes they even complicate situations by talking or sharing too much and giving away too much of their own.

All the information we exchange with our fellows every day is much. Sometimes we are at the receiving end, other times we forward. In terms of deciding whether or not to share thoughts, being the recipient is easy as we either listen or politely ask for silence. The sender on the other hand has to thoughtfully calculate: “Is it means to an end if sharing this particular thought? Will I or my counterpart feel or think any different – most favourably feel and think better – if I confess my thoughts on this particular topic or my feelings?”

Interpersonal relationships can be tough depending on the situation. We do not always tell our special someone that we like them much more than just a friend. We usually do not tell our secrets unknowing if our counterpart would appreciate.

Not only are we confronted with input we take in at almost all times, we are also confronted with decisions, sometimes crucial and sometimes rather not. As a quick mental “pro and con”-list is hardly always applicable, we probably have to trust our instincts to share appropriately.

-your tiny woman in a giant world