Unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably heard about a new online game called Pokémon Go. It’s a game, played on your phone where you hunt for pokémon that are hiding all over the place (we have one that appears to be living in our house.) If you’re on the younger side (or have kids who have dragged you along) you know that Pokémon Go is an inventive (genius) use of technology. It’s fun and it reminds kids of one of their favorite games (and TV shows) when growing up. (It would be like someone creating a video game about trolls for me.)
But if you’re on the older side, you’ve probably heard about how bad this game is – that thugs are “luring” people with pokémon and then robbing them. You’ve probably read an article or two about how players are being hit by cars and (seriously) walking into lakes because they are not paying attention. (Admittedly, you have to use old fashioned common sense when playing this game.)
You’re probably raising your fist and yelling from your front porch – “Those damn kids with their video games, why don’t they get off their phones and join real life?”
Well I’m here to tell you that this game is probably the best thing to happen to our youth (society) in a long time. Every evening after the kids in our family are done with work, a subset and I go out in search of pokémon. When you hunt for pokémon you do a lot of walking, but you know what? It’s so much fun that you don’t mind. By the end of the evening my fitbit registers well over my daily goal of 10,000 steps. This game has my kids complaining about having SORE LEGS FROM WALKING. (These are the same kids I’ve nagged to get up from in front of their computer screen in order to please get some exercise.)
There is an option in the app to get and incubate eggs. To hatch those eggs, (which give you surprise pokémon) ) you have to walk, sometimes more than 6 miles (heck I’ll walk if it means I might get a rare one.) Last night at 9:30 I saw tons of people out on the streets happily walking around so that they could hatch eggs and find pokémon.
While we search for pokémon, my kids and I talk about our days. We talk about politics and what news stories we’ve read. We talk.
While we’re getting exercise.
And we’re having fun.
To me that’s a win-win-win situation to me.
But wait there’s more. It’s very easy to identify another person who is playing. They will be holding their phone in front of them squealing something like “OMG, there’s a Squirtle straight ahead.” My kids and I go out of our way to talk to these players, why not? We’re all in this together.
“What level are you?” “Anything rare around here?”
Not only is this game getting people outside and exercising, but it’s also giving all players a common language. Strangers are actually talking to each other in a friendly way. It took little animal cartoons for us to finally do this.
I spoke with a young girl last night who had dyed pink hair, multiple face piercings, and who was wearing black Gothic clothing. She’s a level 17 (I was dutifully impressed – I’m holding at level 15) and you know what else? She’s a pretty nice person. Not sure I would have ever known that if we didn’t have something in common to talk about.
So for all of you who think that this game means that end times are around the corner, relax. It’s a fun, interactive game that is getting people outside, meeting, and interacting with others.
In fact, at the rate this game is going, I think that Pokémon Goo might just be our best bet for solving world peace.
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
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