The Sunday Times says

Go with the flow of runaway hit game

Pokemon Go was partly invented to get the couch potatoes of the world on their feet by luring them into a mobile app version of a treasure hunt. The popular game uses actual geography to create hiding spots, the treasure being a series of versions of cartoon character Pokemon - a name derived from "pocket monster". The health hook of the game lies in the clever use of the real world by the inventors of Pokemon Go. Gamers tap the clues appearing on their mobile phone to follow a trail within Singapore to hunt down a Pokemon that appears on the phone.

Inevitably, irritation among disinterested members of the public escalated to alarm after a street fight erupted between an engrossed gamer and a motorist. The former, who was crossing the road, apparently took offence at being tooted at by an irate motorist for being oblivious to the safety of others. That led to calls in some quarters to regulate potentially disruptive games - an issue which was discussed even in Parliament.

Arguments about freedom and restraint are bound to arise when a new cultural phenomenon has a profound impact on many people. The row is particularly acute over Pokemon Go because the game is addictive and can pose safety risks when gamers play in public spaces. Some object when noisy gamers run through their neighbourhood at night. Others take a stern view of hospitals, secured areas and august monuments being harnessed as Pokemon Go hiding spots.

Game creators ought to be mindful of any potential harm that might be created by a game, of course. But to constrain them with all sorts of rules would be unwarranted. A nation banking on innovation needs to give sufficient room for fresh ideas to breathe. The results might well be surprising, as demonstrated by Pokemon Go's creators when they took a concept that began in the late 1990s and made it the latest runaway hit.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 21, 2016, with the headline 'Go with the flow of runaway hit game'. Print Edition | Subscribe