Pokémon: The Japanese game that went viral

What was it about this menagerie of pocket-sized monsters that so bewitched children around the globe? To many Western and Japanese observers, Pokémon seemed to have materialised out of thin air. But it was actually the brainchild of a young man who had spent an adolescence immersed in video games.

Satoshi Tajiri was just 24 when he came up with the concept in 1990, a year after Nintendo’s then-groundbreaking portable Game Boy system went on sale. But the development of the game stretched out for some six years – a veritable eternity in the game industry, and by which time the Game Boy felt downright antiquated in comparison to the increasingly high-tech machines of rival companies.

The X Factor

Competitive gaming has been with us since the dawn of video games. In the seminal Pong, created by US company Atari in 1972, two players squared off in a virtual ballgame played out between glowing paddles of light. The first Pokémon games were a quantum leap beyond those simple arcade-gaming experiences. This was a different sort of play, by turns explorative and meditative, with little of the violence associated with so many digital fantasies.

Set in a fictional countryside populated by wild monsters, Pokémon Red Version and Blue Version compelled players to explore the fields, rivers, and forests of a fantasy world in search of monsters – not to kill but to tame and train. Part of the game was devoted to battle, but an equal or even larger part focused on collecting the imaginary beasties into a virtual menagerie.

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Man fined for playing Pokemon Go

Eyebrows were raised when a Melbourne tradie entered the CBD for butter chicken during lockdown last month.

Now, a Sunshine man is making his case for most absurd reason to be in the city.

Victoria Police say the unnamed individual travelled 13km from the city’s western suburbs on Sunday to play Pokemon Go – the augmented reality game where users detect Pokemon characters on their phone’s GPS and try to “catch them”.

For his efforts, he received a fine of $1652.

He was one of 172 people who breached the chief health officer’s directions which stipulate Melburnians must stay home except when working, studying, exercising, shopping or for medical care.

There were 27 fines handed out to people who left home without a face covering and 22 fines issued at vehicle checkpoints as Victorians tried to travel for reasons that are not permitted.

Victoria Police also said a Keilor man was fined for trying to travel to his holiday home on the Surf Coast, a woman was fined at Southern Cross Station for trying to travel to Bendigo, two men were fined at a fast food outlet in Hobsons Bay after staying at a friend’s house in Altona and a group of people were fined for celebrating a birthday at a short-term rental in Point Cook.

Other fines were issued on Friday and Saturday to five people who gathered at a licenced venue in the CBD for a birthday, 10 guests at a party in Wyndham and five people who gathered for a religious ceremony at a factory in Dandenong.

Premier Daniel Andrews said on Sunday that fines would also be issued to more Victorians who were not at home when members of the Australian Defence Force knocked on their door.

The ADF were doorknocking homes of individuals who had tested positive to COVID-19 and should have been self-isolating.

He said he was open to increasing fines to individuals who were not at home when they should have been.

“If Victoria Police came to me and said we need further tools, I wouldn’t hesitate,” Mr Andrews told reporters.

“We can no longer have people simply out and about for no good reason whatsoever,” he said.

Victoria is expected to record more than 420 additional cases on Monday.

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