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Nintendo’s First Smartphone Game is a Pokémon Title

2 minute read

What do you get when you mix Nintendo, the multibillion-dollar Pokémon franchise, smartphones and Niantic, a company renowned for turning real-world landmarks into geographical puzzles?

Pokémon Go, that’s what, an augmented reality app that will deploy players to hunt for Pokémon in “their neighborhoods, communities and the world.” It looks like the opening salvo in Nintendo’s off-Nintendo-hardware mobile strategy, revealed earlier this year. The only catch is that iOS and Android players will have to wait until sometime next year to try it.

Niantic, which takes its name from a 19th century whaling ship and just decoupled from Google last month, is known for a 2013 mobile game called Ingress, a quirky real-world science fiction exercise in paranoia, public monuments and player cooperation.

Pokémon Go taps Niantic’s augmented reality know-how, allowing players to “catch, trade, and battle in the real world by utilizing location information.” And The Pokémon Company’s doing its best to mitigate worries the franchise is being mobile-outsourced by noting that partial The Pokémon Company-owner Game Freak director Junichi Masuda will personally contribute to the game’s development.

If you want to take the experience further, Nintendo’s going to sell an optional complementary device, dubbed the Pokémon Go Plus–think of it as Nintendo’s take on “handsfree.” Say your smartphone’s in your pocket, the Bluetooth-connected Pokémon Go Plus will flash and vibrate to alert you there’s a Pokémon in your vicinity. Tap a button on the device and you can perform in-game actions, like a capture.

The other catch? Pokémon Go will be free-to-play by way of in-app purchases–not even Nintendo’s figured out how to innovate its way out of that.

The 10 Best Classic PC Games You Can Play Right Now

The Oregon Trail (1990) Nostalgia for this elementary school library favorite has never faded — probably because they’ve relaunched the game so many times. Originally released in 1971, the Internet Archive’s edition is from 1990, but don’t worry, you can still die of dysentery in it. MECC
Lemmings 2 - The Tribes (1993) A cute puzzler, the object of this game is to lead the little rodents to safety, using lemmings’ specialized digging, blasting, and building skills to navigate the landscape of each level. DMA Design Limited/Psygnosis Limited
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade - The Action Game (1989) This 1989 title was a Holy Grail for gamers, because it gave them control of Indiana Jones, one of the 80's coolest characters.Tiertex Ltd./LucasArts, U.S. Gold Ltd.
Wolfenstein 3D (1992) The precursor to Doom, Quake, and many of the gore-fests roaring across consoles today, this 1992 first-person shooter has you, as allied spy B.J. Blazkowicz, racing to escape the Nazi's clutches.id Software, Inc./Apogee Software, Ltd.
4D Prince of Persia (1994) Children of the 1990s will fondly recall this run-and-jump platformer as a top-notch adventure game, with great graphics and gameplay — and it has infinite lives. Score! Brøderbund/Terebilov KA
Leisure Suit Larry 1 - Land of the Lounge Lizards (1987) Tame by today’s standards, this 8-bit, adult-oriented title was the Grand Theft Auto of its time, following the exploits of Larry Laffer as he strolls the city of Lost Wages, looking for love. Sierra On-Line, Inc.
Dungeons & Dragons - Eye of The Beholder (1991) Roll the dice in this 1991 Dungeons & Dragons role playing game — there’s nothing like the nostalgia of being a chaotic good paladin roaming the dark passages beneath the city of Waterdeep.Westwood Associates/Strategic Simulations, Inc.
The Hobbit (1983) Open door. Go East. Enjoy game. If you want to go really old school, you can turn the graphics off in this text-based game, guiding Bilbo through Middle Earth using only your imagination as your eyes. Milbus Software
BurgerTime (1982) Guide Peter Pepper in this hamburger-assembling action game, as he tries to build the biggest mouthfuls while being chased by enemy eggs and pickles and hot dogs.Data East Corporation/Mattel Electronics
Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego (1985) This educational title rocked elementary school kids’ worlds back in the 1980s, putting their geography and history smarts to the test. (How would you do with it, today?) Perhaps the best part of this browser version is its throwback sound effects.Bro/derbund Software, Inc.

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Write to Matt Peckham at matt.peckham@time.com