Saskatoon Pokemon Go users visit landmarks, collect monsters in real life

Click to play video: 'Pokemon Go has people chasing characters in Saskatoon' Pokemon Go has people chasing characters in Saskatoon
WATCH ABOVE: A new app has people in Saskatoon scouring the streets in real life for virtual monsters in a quest to become the very best Pokemon catcher. Ryan Kessler has more – Jul 11, 2016

A new app has people in Saskatoon scouring the streets in real life for virtual monsters in a quest to become the very best that no one ever was.

Pokemon Go is an iPhone and Android reboot of the 1990s hit franchise that spawned video games, a TV show and a card game.

READ MORE: Pokemon Go users find everything from dates to dead bodies

The augmented reality game combines a phone camera, a virtual image of anime-style monsters and GPS mapping. Users walk around the real world and use their devices to seek out the monsters.

Pokemon Go uses augmented reality technology to place Pokemon in the real world.

The game encourages people to be physically active and interact with their environment, said James Forester, who has been a Pokemon Go user for six days.

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“I’m normally just sitting inside playing Pokemon [on other platforms]. It’s getting me out of the house. It’s getting other people out of the house,” Forester said.

READ MORE: Documentary filmmaker focused on NHL ’94 video game scores in Sask.

Players can also visit real life landmarks like PotashCorp Playland, Midtown Plaza and countless other stops to collect items.

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Ultimately, the goal of the game is to collect all 151 Pokemon. Players can also compete for territory at different ‘gyms’ placed at locations in various neighbourhoods.

Regan Mandryk, who teaches computer science at the University of Saskatchewan, said Pokemon Go is the result of advances in augmented reality technology over past 10 years.

Combine the maturation of augmented reality with expert branding – and it’s a hit.

“It’s a beautifully designed game and the seamlessness between how you interact with the game and how it moves around the real world … is really well done,” Mandryk said.

READ MORE: Here’s how Canadians are playing ‘Pokémon Go’

The game isn’t technically available in Canada. However, users outside of the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Japan have used out-of-country iTunes accounts and unofficial Android software to circumvent the restrictions.

No firm release date has been released for Pokemon Go in Canada.

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