Pokemon GO has been available in Singapore for a mere 5 days (4 full days, if you want to be exact), but it has already become an integral part of conversations on media and among Singaporeans.
Scrolling through my feeds on various social media these days is just an extension of the Pokemon GO craze, and even the most ‘un-gamer’ friends and acquaintances I have seem to be showing off their catches of the day.
Over the weekend and National Day holiday, I was greeted by players hanging around at different corners of malls and playgrounds, all with one hand clutching to their phones, and their eyes stuck onto their screens.
Admittedly, I was one of these people too – I just happened to look up more.
Here’s a look at what the phenomenon has brought onto Singapore so far:
Massive Crowds EVERYWHERE
Previously, we published an article on hotspots that players can go to maximise their Poketrips. These were both a mix of outdoor and indoor locations, some of which had lures purposefully set to increase footfall.
Not only malls like ION Orchard, but even Resorts World Sentosa and Wildlife Reserves Singapore were setting lures and making their attractions even more attractive with promise of Pokemon and maps detailing where Stops and Gyms are:
Hopping onto the National Day holiday, Razer, popular local gaming device company, also organised a “PokeCrawl”, which brought participants along the main stretch of Orchard Road – well-known to be insanely Pokemon-populated.
With the strong following Razer has, the event was inevitably well-received, with CEO Min-Liang Tan proudly stating that the Crawl had attracted over 300 people:
In fact, the crowd was so massive that according to a participant, “It was so crowded till we got chased away by the ion security staff, sigh”; to which Tan responded in his typical rockstar manner “It’s not a Razer event unless too many people turn up and the security gets concerned! :D”
Pokemon GO group PokemonGo SG Hunt had also released lures at the National Stadium yesterday, inviting all players to participate and benefit from the event.
Not only as a business strategy, individuals who were generous (and also hungry) enough also purchased and set lures at locations in housing estates.
I remember being amazed at the crowds gathering at neighbourhood playgrounds and parks which are usually empty, save for a few young children and their caretakers.
What took the cake, though, was the turnout at Yishun Park:
I wanna be the very best. Like no one ever was. (Ps: Yishun Park) pic.twitter.com/7p663TYEXr
— amie (@amiehetfield) August 9, 2016
With many players still lacking the full range of Pokemon available, and the desire to literally “be the very best”, the crowds don’t seem to have any signs of dying down soon.
The game has also brought up some of the most enterprising of Singaporeans, not only those setting lures at their retail outlets.
Just on Monday, we published an article relating to car rental and hire services popping up for hunting Pokemon.
Not only limited to those in the rental and hire business, even players themselves have been offering carpool services for rates at around $30/hour so that they can cover as much ground as possible with like-minded companions.
Popular ride-hailing app Grab also hopped on for the ride, and released a Pokemon GO map of Singapore with both spawn points, nests and Gyms. They have also provided access discounts for rides to certain landmarks, as a means to make sure that their strategy also translates to more business.
Besides these services, businesses, especially those caught in Stops and Gyms, are also ramping up discounts for players in a bid to entice them to patronise the stores.
There’s actually a dire need to do so, because as The New Paper had reported on Monday, even though footfall at ION Orchard had increased due to the lures, many of these players still do not buy anything from the stores.
Said an employee at Topman, “They also go into the fitting rooms to just catch Pokemon, and after they finish, they leave.”
Accidents And Incidents
Fortunately, Singapore hasn’t had its share of Pokemon GO-related accidents (touch wood!), however, that doesn’t mean the experience has been without shocking discoveries.
On the morning of 7 August, the second day that the game was released, a player stumbled upon a dead body during his hunt at Woodlands Waterfront Park.
Yesterday morning, The New Paper also reported on a car driver’s apparent ‘swiping on gadget’ bringing about what could potentially be Singapore’s very first Pokemon GO-related car accident.
According to an eye witness, the car was observed to be “starting and stopping abruptly and was moving slowly”, and the driver and 2 passengers were “taking out their electronic devices and making swiping actions on their devices”. The car then crashed into a curb.
Queenstown Stadium, which was just a minute’s drive from the accident’s location, is also a known PokeStop.
While the official cause of the accident has not been announced, the eye witness and a number of citizen detectives have instigated that it was due to Pokemon GO.
Taiwan, which got the app on the same day as us, has been reported to have over 349 Taiwanese motorists (mostly motorcyclists) fined for playing Pokemon GO while travelling on the road so far.
Perhaps the Singapore Traffic Police’s strict laws have been keeping such instances low in Singapore?
Spoofers – Gotta Catch ‘Em All
Since its launch here, Pokemon GO has also brought out the ugly side of the game – the cheating, or, “spoofing”, that’s rampant at Gyms.
These spoofers usually possess Pokemon with high Combat Power (CP) and are incredibly high level in spite of the game just being released in Singapore.
As a player myself, I can vouch that getting to the next level and owning a Pokemon (either through catching one, or training/evolving one) doesn’t happen overnight, so there is definitely something fishy about domination of Gyms by level 30 players with Pokemon having CP in the thousands.
This issue has been brought up by local Pokemon GO players, which were frustrated that these spoofers are ruining the fun and hard work that goes into the game by having unfair advantages.
To take matters into their own hands, players have banded up to report these spoofers to Niantic:
Being competitive is one thing, but cheating is another.
“Being the very best” should not translate to having unfair advantages, but instead, dedication and skill should be the deciding factors.
One People, One Nation, One Love For Pokemon GO
Pokemon GO has probably been more effective than most nationwide campaigns in uniting Singaporeans for a common cause.
Not only has it brought Singaporeans out of their houses and to populated places, but the community (especially online) and friendships that have been forged through love of the game is not to be underestimated.
Sure, at its core, Pokemon GO is just a game, but it’s heartening to see Singaporeans coming forward to offer tips and tricks, and sharing their lures with absolute strangers on groups such as the 44,473-strong (and growing) Pokemon GO Singapore.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but Pokemon GO could be one of the best National Day presents this year.
To be updated on the latest Pokemon GO hunt in Singapore, please follow PokemonGo SG Hunt.