I know, I know. You’re probably about done seeing posts about Pokémon GO, between seeing news about it, and Facebook friends playing it to the point of obsession, and the whole team rivalry, and everything else that’s attached to it.
Please hear me out, though.
Sure, it’s a “stupid game” with a lack of depth. It’s a game that feeds off of nostalgia, and its popularity most likely won’t last very long. It’s a fad — probably the biggest fad I’ve seen in my life.
But dang, is it a great fad.
Pokémon GO is easily one of the greatest things to happen to society in a long time. I’m impressed. In my lifetime, I’ve never seen something — especially a mobile game — unify society to this extent. I’ve seen swarms of people (who would probably normally never be outside) head toward one of the many Poké stops available. I’ve seen products and promotions tenfold that are raking in dollars upon dollars in transactions. And I personally have been motivated to go on walks when (let’s face it) I never would. Ever.
Not only did Pokémon GO cause me to go on walks, it helped me to find out about locations and events in my neighborhood that I didn’t know existed. For example, there’s a historical society for my city close to my apartment building. I’ve even passed by it once. I never realized it was there, though, until I first opened the game and saw that it was a Poké stop. My wife and I have visited the stop several times since then, and have expressed interest on visiting it when it’s open.
When I looked at the zoomed-out in-game map, I found out that there were an abundance of Poké stops and gyms close by as well, so I had to check them out.
On my first run into town, I stopped at the library. The library had three different stops that I could access from their parking lot, with several others within the block. So, my wife and I took a walk and encountered several groups of players. One woman we met mentioned events going on in the town that night; apparently, Friday nights are a hubbub of activity in my town anyway, and Pokémon GO fueled it.
A week later, we decided to roam our town again, but spread our search so we covered more stops. We ended up being treated to a festival that was going on, which included a lot of food, bands, and plenty of trainers. My wife and I dropped by a popcorn store, which happened to be a gym. Inside, the owners created a special popcorn flavor to celebrate the game’s launch. Outside, I took on the gym for kicks and ended up placing my Flareon inside. We walked down the street to a concert that was playing, and it happened to be a Poké stop — with a lure module! We stayed and listened for a while as we caught Magikarp and other pocket monsters. It was an unexpected amount of fun.
If I wasn’t playing the game, I never would have experienced the socialization, the festivities, or even the fresh air; I probably would have stayed inside and played one of my many Steam games. The game may be flawed, but there are definitely many benefits to playing.
Besides all of that, Pokémon GO was released at the right time. Between summer being upon us and there being a lot of negativity in the world right now, we all need something fun to keep us occupied. It may be a silly mobile game, but it’s enough to entertain us and bring out the fun in life. It’s a breath of fresh air, both figuratively and literally (I mean, you have to go outside, right?).
All in all, I recommend that if you’re able to, give the game a try. If you’re one of the many who are quick to judge players, I urge you to give it a try as well. Be safe, have fun, and socialize. At the very least, it’s worth the exercise.
Don’t forget: Pokémon GO Plus is arriving later this month. Don’t forget to snag a device for easier monster hunting!