The sun rose on July 6, 2016, everyone arose for their day like normal, not knowing that the world as they knew it was about to radically change. Pokemon GO was released on the App Store and Google Play, and it created quite literally a phenomenon that has altered some daily routines.
I'm not a hater. I play the game. My fiancé and I will go on Pokemon GO dates, and it's a blast (judge us all you want). There are some major perks to the game, but as I continued to play and watched the world around me become absorbed in the world of finding Pokemon, I noticed some major downsides that some might even consider dangerous. There are three reasons I absolutely love Pokemon GO, but there are also three reasons I hate Pokemon GO.
1. It forces you to be active
Well, kind of. Some people have found ways to cheat at this which leads to some of my reasons below as to why I hate it. Pokemon GO (for those who may live under a rock and have no idea what I'm talking about) was designed as a game where you have to walk around to find and catch different kinds of Pokemon- brilliant! The gamers who never see the light are more tan this summer than ever before. Buy them a Fit Bit, Mom because they are getting their steps in as well!
2. It's ever-changing, keeping you on your toes
I am not one of those people who has 15 different game apps on their phone. I'll have one game, play it for a bit, get bored of it, and delete it for space purposes. I go through ebbs and flows with all sorts of game apps, but Pokemon GO has remained on my phone because it changes enough that I don't get bored. There are sometimes areas in your neighborhood that are more populated with one type of Pokemon, but as time goes on and updates happen, those areas switch and you might find some more rare Pokemon where you only found Pidgey before. Not to mention how many times the gyms change from one team to the next. You may have found some rad Pokemon, but now you have to keep battling to fight for your team (Go Team Mystic!).
3. It brings people together
As weird as this sounds, especially because one of my points below might seem to contradict this, Pokemon GO has somehow brought people together in a way that no other phone game app has done before. You're not virtually connecting with each other; you're actually standing next to 50 other people at a park nearby that you've never seen before, and you're all there with the same goal in mind: catching the best and rarest Pokemon and battling to the death of the other teams. It's a strange concept that most people don't like the thought of, but I have had some fun walking around while playing, seeing other people playing and engaging in a short conversation about where I found a great Pokemon so they could go catch it too. Simple, yet a major pro in my eyes.
1. It's distracting as all heck
In class, during work, and the worst of all: DRIVING. The creators have done all they can to attempt to dissuade people from using the app while driving with signs like "You're moving too fast," but the reality is people just click the button that says, "I'm the passenger" and move on playing. Because catching Pokemon or attempting to hatch an egg while driving (you must be driving real slow) is obviously more important than keeping yourself and those around you safe. Who needs to look at the road while they're driving anymore, right? No. DRIVE. Soon they're going to have to update that California "No texting while driving" law and make it "No Pokemon GO or texting while driving." That's sad. Also, get your work done!
2. It disengages conversation
I know, I said this was going to sound contradictory to what I said above. The truth is that the Pokemon GO is kind of a double-edged sword and, like anything technological nowadays, it has to have boundaries of sorts, but it doesn't. There's no accountability. When not on a specific Pokemon GO date, GET OFF YOUR PHONE. Texting, answering emails, checking Facebook and Insta were already putting up relational walls, now this has gotten even worse. Anytime the phone vibrates because there's a Pokemon nearby, it's obviously more important than the conversation that you were having. Who am I kidding, you're "still listening" right?
3. It just doesn't run smoothly
Alright, this might seem like a poor reason to hate the game itself, but it's just obvious that the game was launched and took off way more than they expected and way before it was really fully ready. Not to say it wasn't successful, who am I kidding- they've made more than $230 MILLION to date. Anyway, the battles freeze, sometimes a Pokemon is invisible on the screen and therefore impossible to catch, the maps need to be updated badly, etc. All in all, this is definitely my weakest argument against it, but it's still something. Though I will say that teaming up with Google Maps was the best thing Niantic could have done for this game.
Alright, I'm a sucker. I like the game, but I just wish people were smarter about the times, places and ways they use it. Don't let it become your everything. Don't let it become the only thing you argue about with your spouse who just wants to talk to you face-to-face. Have fun, but be safe. Don't wander into parks at midnight by yourself, and for the love, watch where you're walking and drive without even turning the app on.