With the recent news of Pokemon Go, I thought it would be interesting to have a look back at one of the first times that the creators of Pokemon sent us out into the real world with a pocket monster by our sides.
I’m talking about the Pokemon Pocket Pikachu, a yellow pedometer that functioned as a virtual pet. This particular pedometer had controls that replicate those found on a Gameboy. There was a D-pad, an A button, B button, Start, Select, and a Reset button that you have to use a pin in order to press. Unlike Tamagotchis and Giga Pets, however, Pikachu didn’t need constant attention and he wouldn’t beep at you throughout the day. The only thing Pikachu asked of you was to feed him about 200 watts a day. You earn these watts by walking around with the device in your pocket or clipped to your belt, or by winning in a basic slot machine mini-game. If you successfully feed him these watts on a regular basis, the device says that he loves you and the animation of Pikachu on the screen depicts a sprite of him up close to the camera, staring at you. Failing to do this regularly means that he will only like you and the graphic shows him sitting farther back from the camera looking around at the scenery. If you never feed him, he’ll run away and the device will display the words “Where is Pikachu?!” on the tiny screen.
Pikachu reacts differently based on the amount of watts you give him. There are tons of little animations from Pikachu bicycling to hang-gliding or doing flips that only appear based on the watts he gets. Throughout the day he’ll wake up, eat breakfast, play with blocks, read, eat lunch, watch tv, or prepare for bed. There’s actually a plethora of animations he goes through throughout the day and part of the fun of this little gadget is checking it at different times of the day to see exactly what Pikachu is up to.
I recently picked up one of these little guys and I’ve been playing with it a lot at times when I would normally be playing with my phone. It’s actually a pretty good motivator to get up and get out to earn watts and see what else Pikachu can do. I know the first time I saw him hang-glide I was really excited because I had given him a lot of watts all at once and I had never seen that animation before. It’s a really fun little pedometer and I hope Pokemon Go still has that fun factor in mind. I, personally, can’t wait to catch ‘em all!
Pictures found here: