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Search for Pokemon, find love instead. Say hello to PokeDate

Ranjan Crasta | Updated on: 10 February 2017, 1:49 IST

Ever since the release of Pokemon Go, the world seems to have lost its mind. Based on where you live, you can find swarms of Pokemaniacs roaming the streets catching Pokemon, like some sort of PG-13 zombie apocalypse.

It's no longer just limited to people who grew up playing the game either. Everyone's playing Pokemon Go. So much so that, in the US, the game's popularity skyrocketed past everyone's favourite hook-up app, Tinder.

While some would see this as a reflection of this generation's warped priorities, others saw a business opportunity - to create a Pokemon Go dating portal. And thus PokeDate was born.

Also read - Pokemon GO gets people out and about, and that's a good thing

The genesis of PokeDate

Yes, PokeDate. It's a name that, without the accent over the 'e', sounds suggestive, and when said the way it's meant to be said, sounds like a treat you'd feed a Meowth.

Still, poorly selected name and strange concept aside, PokeDate makes a lot of sense. Well, if you like Pokemon Go, anyway. Ever since the augmented reality game launched, it has managed something that possibly no other video game before it has - getting people off their asses and out of their homes.

It started with lone gamers wandering the streets staring at invisible creatures through their phones (to the utter confusion of PokeMuggles.) But gradually, as they looked up from their phones, possibly startled by a low flying bird or a passing car, they noticed other Pokemon Go players were all around them.

As days went by, communities started to form around Pokemon Go

Just like that, Pokemon Go communities started to form - groups of people meeting up to catch virtual Pokemon together. It was a smart move, because, let's face it, nerds get bullied and mugged and there's strength in numbers.

PokeDate aims to take advantage of just this phenomenon. Or rather, to improve on it.

The PokeDate experience

Since people clearly like playing the game with company, Project Fixup, the dating startup that owns PokeDate, figured that it would be a good platform to bring singles together.

After all, you know what's more fun than playing Pokemon Go with hordes of people? Playing Pokemon Go minus all the kids in your neighbourhood, their tag-along parents and acne-ridden, sexually repressed teenagers who've never spoken to a member of the opposite sex before Pokemon Go came along. Throw in a like minded companion and it seems like Pokemon Go has a winning formula.

Also read -Pokemon Go: Rare 'Vapereon' causes stampede in New York's Central Park

As Sarah Press, Project Fixup's CEO and co-founder said in a statement, "Pokemon Go has taken the world by storm and it's more fun to play with a companion. We hope PokeDates will bring singles together to experience the joy of the game and explore their city while getting to know one another."

PokeDate both is and isn't like Tinder. On the one hand, yes, you do meet up with single strangers. However, unlike Tinder which uses geographic proximity and a chat interface to get things started, PokeDate has an entirely different way to get the (poke)ball rolling.

Getting started on PokeDate

Like any dating website, PokeDate makes you fill out your basic details and upload photos. The site also asks you what you're looking for in a partner. Hilariously, they also ask you whether you're picky about things like height and ethnicity, as if someone who's dating through a children's videogame would be picky.

The PokeDate opening screen
Weakness? Fire type.

Post these formalities, PokeDate is all about the offline experience.

Unlike Tinder, the service finds other Pokemon Go enthusiasts with similar interests and sets up a time and a place for matches to meet. Once a date is arranged by PokeDate's 'experts', each partner receives a short para in the mail about their date. They then meet up and, hopefully, find a whole bunch of Pokemon, or, who knows, even true love.

The catch here though, is that each date costs US $20. A fairly steep price to pay to meet a total stranger, that too via Pokemon.

First published: 22 July 2016, 1:55 IST
Ranjan Crasta @jah_crastafari

The Ranjan (Beardus Horribilis) is a largely land-dwelling herbivorous mammal. Originally from a far more tropical habitat, the Ranjan can now be found wandering the streets of Delhi complaining about the weather, looking for watering holes and foraging for affordable snacks. Mostly human, mostly happy and mostly harmless, the Ranjan is prone to mood swings when deprived of his morning coffee. Having recently migrated to the Catch offices, he now inhabits a shadowy corner and spends his time distracting people and producing video content to distract them further.