If you are reading this and expecting another rant on all the bad things about Pokémon GO, then you can stop reading right now…
The latest gaming craze has come in the form of the augmented reality app based on the original Pokémon cartoon franchise originally from 1994 (according to Wiki). It has swept nations across the world and is popular across the young and young at heart alike. This includes me, a grown-ass woman nearing her thirties and yet is somewhat obsessed with this game.
So what the hell is the big deal with Pokémon GO?
Well firstly, its fun! And that’s what games are about right? It’s rewarding passing through the levels and being successful in catching that all too difficult jynx or weedle. Random but yes, the weedles have been difficult!).
Secondly it’s actually really social, this is the game-changer really (pardon the pun). Playing this game has actually invited gamers to venture out into the “real world” to play a game. Rather than being cooped up in a bedroom stuck in the same position for hours playing certain games, this one forces people to go outside – shock horror!
The other social aspect is the way people have embraced other fellow players. The gaming community is not one I am familiar with. But I can honestly say in the last few weeks that I have been playing, I have met more people from all different walks of life. This is all through our involvement with the game.
People are actually talking to other people!
For example the other day, I took a detour to a local park to hang out but also to attempt to catch some balbasaurs (the park outside Aldgate East has loads btw). To my surprise I saw the park filled with hordes of other people playing the game. There were about 5 or 6 groups of friends sitting together all playing in between little bursts of conversation sitting all around the park. Every few minutes you would get a rather enthused person shout out that they had seen something, shortly followed by a swarm of people trying to get closer to catch it themselves. The strange but nice thing was that people that didn’t know each other were actually talking to each other asking what the other had caught, showing off their wins and giving each other tips and tricks.
This wasn’t the first time I had seen it happen or experienced it. Just a couple of days before that I was getting on the bus and the guy behind me asked me: “what team are you on?”. To which I responded “Team Mystic all the way!”. I did not know this guy and yet this little interaction of friendliness brightened up my journey that little bit.
Unfortunately not everyone has the same sentiment towards the game.
The game is stupid and dangerous
Actually, its neither. The game encourages interaction and outdoor activity – what’s stupid about that? With regards to it being dangerous, people looking down on their phones whilst walking was an issue before Pokémon GO ever came out! I was in a heated debate with someone from work on the dangers of people being distracted as they walk and look at their phones. My argument being that I have seen people reading books or newspapers as they walk. So what’s the difference with that or any of the other potential reasons why people are distracted when they walk?
Sadly as with most things, there has been a handful of instances which has seen an increase in theft crime of mobile phones. But that shouldn’t be a deterrent for people to not play the game. Your phone is in as much danger of getting stolen as you hold it in public, whether or not you are playing the game or not!
All in all, I still think its early days to judge whether this just another fad, or potentially the first step into a new way of gaming.
What do you think? Are you obsessed with Pokémon GO too? Leave me a comment below or tweet me at @arcasela