Pikmin Bloom: Why Pokémon Go creators are working with Nintendo again By Steffan Powell and Vikki Blake
Newsbeat gaming reporters
7 hours NIANTIC What do you get if you merge the augmented reality (AR) technology of Pokémon Go and the creativity of Mario creator, Shigeru Miyamoto?
The answer is Pikmin Bloom, a brand new game from Nintendo and Niantic, the creators of some of the world’s most famous mobile games.
Like Pokémon Go and Harry Potter Wizards Unite, Pikmin Bloom uses AR, a special technology that layers virtual graphics and characters on top of the real world via our smart devices, to bring it to life.
Though maybe less well known as other Nintendo franchises, the Pikmin games – where the player uses real-time strategy tactics to solve puzzles – have been around since 2001 and were created by Shigeru Miyamoto, the man behind iconic Nintendo brands such as Mario and The Legend of Zelda.
Image source, NIANTIC Image caption, The first Pikmin game came out on the Nintendo Gamecube in 2001 In Pikmin Bloom, you will work with a tiny alien race, “incubating and growing” them with your real-life step count, then working alongside them to plant beautiful virtual blooms in your real-life location.
“The heart of the game, for me, is that on your daily walk, you’re actually able to plant flowers as you go,” John Hanke, boss of Niantic, tells BBC podcast, Press X To Continue.
“You’re transforming the mundane into a more beautiful world by leaving this trail of flowers behind you.
“That’s a shared thing, so as more people play, we think the whole ‘world’ is going to become filled with flowers.”
Crediting Miyamoto’s creativity, Hanke says Pikmin was a franchise that was “open enough” to try something brand new and “not just try to do another version of an existing Nintendo game”.
Image source, NIANTIC Image caption, Players will be able to plant virtual flowers in their real-life surroundings Hanke says AR is a particularly special genre of gaming because it doesn’t require you to sit in front of your PC or console, plus it’s entirely non-competitive.
Like Pokémon Go and other augmented reality games, it’s also a great way to get you moving and exercising more.
“There’s a ton of research and studies that cite chapter and verse of not only the physiological benefits of walking but also the mental health benefits,” Hanke explains.
“Everything from mood to your creativity and your productivity is made better by walking.
“The purpose of the game is to entertain you, be fun, and make your life a little bit more magical when you’re out and about.
“But if it nudges you to something that’s also going to make you feel better and be a little bit happier, then that’s great.”
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