December 05, 2019
It has more than 500 million downloads and has almost 11 million reviews that give it a 4.5-star rating (out of 5). Its name is Pou and last Monday, December 2, the app was removed from Google Play Store. Two days later, it returned to be active in the store, following the claim of its followers through social networks.
If you never played it, you probably know someone who did. Pou is a mobile video game that was released in August 2012, which has a similar concept to the recalled Tamagotchi, from the mid-1990s. It is a virtual pet (in this case an alien) and the player must take care of feeding, cleaning, dressing, entertaining and sending it to sleep.
The main character is very similar to a potato but triangular. It only has eyes and mouth. By the time of this game, it was available for smartphones with the BlackBerry, IOS and Android operating systems.
The game is the work of the Lebanese developer Paul Salameh and, as he declared for the Spanish newspaper “La Voz de Galicia”, it only took him three months to create Pou. In the first years, he made the updates on a daily or weekly basis.
The attraction was that in addition to taking care of Pou, the app included several mini-games, shopping and the possibility of interacting with other players.
As much as Pou or Tamagotchi invites the user to take responsibility for the care of the virtual pet, this will never replace the experience of having a real pet. “Having a real pet requires real responsibility. If we do not want to have commitments, we can consider having a virtual pet. However, with a real pet, emotional bonds and social skills are developed that cannot be developed in a digital environment”, explains Psychologist Juliana Sequera.
“Technology will not achieve a real connection, with empathic reactions that we achieve today with a real pet. A virtual pet generates dependence because the human being always seeks to close chapters and conclude them. Nevertheless, these pets do not end; there is always one more level. It entertains you, but it can generate dependency. The best is to have a real pet, that goes according to the personality of the family”, says Antonella Galli, Psychologist at Clínica Ricardo Palma and author of the book “Sé Feliz” (Be Happy).
Both specialists agree that despite the current relevance of technology, people have to take time to enjoy nature, exercise and improve life quality.
Lic. Antonella Galli
Psychologist at Clínica Ricardo Palma