If you don’t know what "Pokémon Go" is, or have never heard of it, I really don’t know what to say. This app has been extremely popular in the past weeks since its release, and its popularity is only growing. More and more people are downloading it, and more and more "Pokémon Go" players are roaming our parks and streets every day.
Essentially, "Pokémon Go" is a modern and super technological version of the classic handheld game. It is mostly played on one’s phone or tablet and uses GPS technology. Depending on your location and proximity, you can catch Pokémon, hatch eggs, train and defeat Gyms. There are also realistic aspects of it — PokeStops, places that you spin and obtain little rewards, are real places in the world, which make the game a little more interesting.
If you live in a country or area where "Pokémon Go" is available for you, chances are you’ve passed by someone who is playing the game. A huge indicator are masses of conglomerated people bundled together at a certain area, or someone walking (or standing) while swiping at their phone. I see them everywhere. Trainers are everywhere. You can find a lot of them in parks and local PokeStops. Many are children, but what I find more baffling is that a mass majority of people playing are adults passed 16 years old. It’s like our childhood has finally come back and turned us into Pokémon-hungry younglings once more.
Although "Pokémon Go" has its own risks and dangers, if used properly and safely, it is its own social network and way of being active. Because it requires a lot of walking or movement to find Pokémon or hatch eggs (hatching eggs can require up to 10 km of steps if I remember correctly), people find themselves walking long distances. Many of my friends who play the game even bike around streets until they are tired and sore the next morning. It’s a strange way of staying in shape, but works wonders for society, who, these days, usually stay indoors and play "Pokémon" in one spot.
Not only does it promote activity and exercise, the game strangely opens up new friendships. If you are a player of this game, you know you can drop lure modules on PokeStops that lure wild Pokémon. This pink, confetti party thing is a huge flag for Pokémon trainers anywhere. If it’s a popular area and there are many people around, you surely will see a lot of people in that PokeStop. I was scrolling through the Twitter news/moments tab and looking through the abundance of pictures/videos that showcased the friendships made through the game.
The result of a single lure being put down.
It’s a great conversation starter, for sure. It makes it easier to talk to someone when you have an immediate point of commonality, and this game has endless numbers of conversation starters. I once went to the park with my two friends to catch some Pokémon, and as we walked around, I remember two teenage boys running past us, yelling at us saying, “Pikachu! Pikachu is over there!!!”. Soon enough, I had two Pikachu’s in my pocket and a lot of wasted Pokeballs (I really suck at throwing those things).
In its own goofy and weird way, Pokémon Go has entered the hearts of Pokémon fans and non-fans alike, and definitely is a game to look out for.
"Pika-pika!" — Pikachu