I OFTEN guilt trip over the Game Boy; specifically the Pokemon Game Boy special edition. Was it bad parenting to allow Santa to deliver one to a four-year-old? We’ll never know, but there seems to have been no lasting damage.

Twenty-odd years on, the technology of 2000 seems clunky. That yellow Game Boy is in a box in a cupboard (I don’t think it will ever be parted with) and a keek confirms that it looks really quite retro.

In the meantime, Pikachu and his virtual pals have been busy, turning the gaming concept into a healthy lifestyle choice rather than a couch-potato exercise in screen-drool button-pushing. In 2016, the Pokemon Company released Pokemon Go, the augmented reality game that saw users tracking down Pokemon in the real world, which became a global phenomenon. Apparently, it encouraged players to walk. No more couch potatoes glued to screens.

Admittedly, there were some unfortunate consequences. The immersive game, which sends players on a real-life treasure hunt to “catch ’em all” and had 15 million players at peak Pikachu, has reportedly caused countless accidents. Perhaps it’s not advisable to encourage gamers to leave the safe confines of their couch after all.

Having monetised walking as a gaming concept, Pokemon has now announced it is developing Pokemon Sleep, a mobile app that tracks players in the land of nod and uses the data for a new game.

The concept, set for release next year, aims to reward good sleep habits as part of a healthy lifestyle, turning “sleep into entertainment”.

Tsunekazu Ishihara, of the Pokemon Company, said the firm was developing a sleep-tracking successor to Pokemon Go. The app will use data points, like how long the user slept and when they awoke, to change gameplay.

Ishihara said the move is designed to transform sleep into entertainment, similar to the way in which it made walking enjoyable with Pokemon Go.

“After walking, we decided to focus on the act of sleeping,” he said. “Everyone spends a large part of their lives sleeping, and turning that into entertainment is our next challenge at Pokemon. The concept is for players to look forward to waking up every morning.”

The firm did not elaborate on how gameplay would change depending on sleep patterns.

I have a few suggestions … For young children, sleep by 8pm and wakefulness not before 8am would be the aim. This should be adjusted at weekends, with extra points for sleeping beyond 9am.

For teenagers, scores should encourage sleep before midnight and waking up in time to get to school without a mad rush and hand-held breakfast. Bonus points for relinquishing bed before lunchtime at the weekends. The game should also have an auto shutdown mode to discourage late-night play and gaming while simultaneously watching TV.

Having reprogrammed fans in their walking and sleeping habits, Pokemon might want to explore other areas for lifestyle manipulation. Perhaps Pokemon Eat could encourage the consumption of green vegetables. Sounds like a job for Pikachew.