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Pokemon Go playing teens in Syria raises awareness of war-torn country

By on March 29, 2021 0

The most dangerous computer game in the world? Syrian teens risk their lives to play Pokemon Go in warzones

  • Young people are downloading more and more games in the Syrian city of Douma
  • Footage shows players rushing to bomb damaged building in town
  • Internet connection problems in Syria can hamper the game










Syrian teens are increasingly unaware of the dangers of living in a war zone – so they can play Pokemon Go.

Young people from the rebel-held Syrian town of Douma download the hit game and risk their lives climbing through bomb-damaged buildings to capture the characters in the game.

Activists are also trying to raise awareness of the conflict in their home countries by placing printed versions of Pokémon monsters in the rubble of destroyed homes.

Syrian teenagers are increasingly unaware of the dangers of living in a war zone – so they can play Pokemon Go. A man is pictured taking a photo of a print of a Pokemon Go figure left in the ruins

Young people in the rebel-held Syrian city of Douma are increasingly downloading the hit game - and risking their lives climbing bomb-damaged buildings to capture the game's characters. One player imagines a printed version of a Pokémon character

Young people in the rebel-held Syrian city of Douma are increasingly downloading the hit game – and risking their lives climbing bomb-damaged buildings to capture the characters in the game. One player imagines a printed version of a Pokémon character

Images show players rushing through the collapsed ruins of buildings in the city, near the capital Damascus, as they hunt digital monsters

Images show players rushing to the collapsed ruins of buildings in the city, near the capital Damascus, as they hunt digital monsters

Footage shows players rushing through collapsed buildings in the city, near the capital Damascus, as they hunt digital monsters.

Young fans of the game, including 21-year-old Syrian artist Omair Abd, have also taken to painting Pokémon figures on the walls of destroyed houses.

A young player said: “It is sometimes difficult to catch Pokémon as they appear on the roofs of destroyed buildings or outside of besieged Ghouta.

“This is why this game has not been successful here in Syria while it is very popular in the rest of the world.”

The Nintendo Infatuation smartphone app is only accessible through a special proxy in Syria, while internet connection issues can hamper play.

Another teenager said: “We are installing the app because we wanted to try this game in Syria and especially in our region, Eastern Ghouta.

A Pokémon player takes a photo on his cell phone of a print of a Pokémon Go figure in rebel-held town of Douma.  Young activists want to raise awareness of the Syrian conflict by placing Pokémon monsters in the rubble of destroyed houses

A Pokémon player takes a photo on their cell phone of a print of a Pokémon Go figure in rebel-held town of Douma. Young activists want to raise awareness of the Syrian conflict by placing Pokémon monsters in the rubble of destroyed houses

Young fans of the game, including 21-year-old Syrian artist Omair Abd, have taken to painting Pokémon figures on the walls of destroyed houses.

Young fans of the game, including 21-year-old Syrian artist Omair Abd, have taken to painting Pokémon figures on the walls of destroyed houses.

Syrian artist Omair Abd paints Pokémon figurine on wall of destroyed house in rebel-held city of Douma

Syrian artist Omair Abd paints Pokémon figurine on wall of destroyed house in rebel-held city of Douma

“At first it was difficult because we didn’t have an internet connection because internet coverage is not available everywhere. We had to log in via Viber to download the game as it is not available in Syria.

The game has already broken download records in the US and is expected to perform the same in the UK, although it has been criticized by some for a lack of security measures.

The British became so desperate to play the game that many were also using unofficial means to get hold of it before the European release.

The smartphone app for the Nintendo craze is only accessible through a special proxy in Syria, while internet connection issues can hamper the game.

The smartphone app for the Nintendo craze is only accessible through a special proxy in Syria, while internet connection issues can hamper the game.

Young activists try to raise awareness of conflict in their home countries by placing printed versions of Pokémon monsters in the rubble of destroyed homes

Young activists try to raise awareness of conflict in their home countries by placing printed versions of Pokémon monsters in the rubble of destroyed homes

The game runs on your smartphone and alerts you when you are near a nearby Pokemon, allowing you to scan your surroundings before trying to catch it using “Poke Balls”.

It has proven to be so popular across the world since its release that Pokemon developer Nintendo has seen its stock price skyrocket by over 50%.

Pokemon GO is a modern take on the 1990s children’s card game and uses your phone’s GPS and clock to sense where and when you are in the game and ‘spawn’ digital monsters around you.

As you move around, different types of Pokémon will appear depending on where you are and what time it is – combining the game and the real world in what’s called ‘augmented reality’. “.

TAKING THE WORLD BY STORM: POKEMON GO EXPLAINED

The objective of Pokémon Go is to “catch” animated virtual Pokémon that have been layered in real world locations using a smartphone.

Players – known as Poketrainers – start by choosing a starting character: either Bulbasaur, Charmeleon, or Pikachu.

They then travel between the real world and the virtual world of Pokémon to capture different creatures that hide in places suitable for their species.

Pokemon Go allows players to switch between the real and virtual world to capture different creatures that appear on phone screens in a number of real locations

Pokemon Go allows players to switch between the real and virtual world to capture different creatures that appear on phone screens in a number of real locations

This means that if a Pokémon is an aquatic species, like a Magikarp or Squirtle, it will likely be in places where there is real water.

Other places monsters can hide are grass, air, or other soil such as pavement. Some creatures are more difficult to find and capture than others.

As users move around the virtual map – literally walking through the real world – their smartphones vibrate to let them know when a Pokémon is nearby.

Players can then throw a “PokeBall” at the creature in an attempt to capture the Pokémon and add it to their collection.

Once players have captured the creatures, they can then train their Pokémon and “fight” them against other creatures in the “PokeGyms”, which are real landmarks outside of your usual “neighborhood” where players they gather.

UK gamers who downloaded the game early were surprised to find MI5 and MI6 gyms in London.

Users can also stop at various real local landmarks known as “PokeStops” where many Pokémon spawn and players can stock up on more PokeBalls or upgrade their Pokémon.

Players can explore towns and villages in their neighborhood and around the world to capture up to 722 species of Pokémon.

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