THERE are – I’m reliably informed – six Pokéstops within easy reach of Southport’s seafront.
Apparently Pikachus and Jigglypuffs are everywhere and more popular than a video of Taylor Swift counting down the internet’s top ten amusing cat videos. You thought the motoring column in The Champion would be a good place to get away from Pokémon Go, didn’t you? Sadly not, because it has not one but two motoring-related applications.
The first is that the police in Sefton and West Lancashire really ought to be strongly encouraging more people to go out and play Pokémon Go, because it’s more effective at curbing your speed than any yellow flashing box of misery ever will be. My other half is obsessed with the app and uses every outing to up her Pokémon stash, but in order to fool the game into thinking you’re merely Usain Bolt on an evening jog rather than a pair of cheats in a car you realistically can’t do any more than 35mph. All of which means everyone else is either stuck behind at 30-ish or too busy playing the game themselves (from the passenger seat, obviously) to care.
Really all of the region’s three million 20mph zones ought to be festooned with Pokéstops and the dual carriageways stripped of them altogether, in some brilliant bid to control everyone’s speed without them noticing.
But the even better news – and I hope there are some budding game developers reading this week – is that the thinking behind Pokémon Go clearly has a petrolhead application. Stick with me on this one, because it could make an entire generation interested in cars again.
It’s a little known fact that the Automatic Numberplate Recognition system beloved of the police and paranoid petrol station operators can be harnessed as a mobile phone app. As a result it’s entirely plausible could make a game where kids collect fast cars rather than weirdly shaped Nineties dinosaurs – and then race ‘em against their mates later on.
It’d encourage kids to get into great cars early – use the game to go hunting at your nearest supermarket and might end up with nothing more than a 12-reg Focus, but make the effort of going to a car show and your phone might zap a Jaguar XJ220 and a Ferrari F40 in the same day. Think of it as Gran Turismo Go and you’ve got the idea; only with Porsches rather than Pikachus as the prize catches.
Obviously, I’ll expect millions of pounds in royalties when the game’s inevitably launched later this year. Just remember, you read it here first…