I’m sure everyone and their mothers has heard one thing or another about Pokémon Go. Maybe all you know us that a girl walked onto a highway while playing or that people are using drones to play the game. Although these are both unfortunate and somewhat alarming, I think there is a bigger picture to see here…
I can’t speak for everyone else, but when I was a kid, I remember always wanting to go outside and play manhunt or cops and robbers with my neighborhood friends until my mom yelled out that it was time for supper. I have a brother who is 8 years younger than me, and it basically feels like there is an entire generation between us. He has NEVER wanted to go play outside. He has his own computer and video games and is always staring at a screen. The only reason he used to go outside was to walk our dogs when my dad threatened to take away his games if he didn’t. Things have changed a bit since the game came out.
So here’s how the game works: you have to physically walk to move your character to different places where you can then catch Pokémon, take over gyms, or hatch some pokèmon eggs that you’ve been incubating. If you move at about 15-20 mph (i.e. riding a bike), you can hatch your eggs even faster. My brother, who used to sit and play Pokémon on his Gameboy at the age of three, jumped at the chance to download this game. Because of this game alone, my brother now volunteers to walk the dogs and accompany me to the park to play Pokémon. It has done what no other person or thing could do – get my lazy brother off his ass and actually outside.
Some may argue that walking is barely getting active, but this is where I disagree. Any movement is better than no movement at all. I am all for this game if it gets people moving. There are also different types of Pokémon in different areas of different countries, encouraging people to travel to places they may not go to otherwise, local or not.
Would it be nice for people to go outside and unplug from all things electronic? Well yes, of course, especially when people are falling off cliffs from looking down at their phones. All I am saying is I think Nintendo deserves a round of applause for doing something that most gaming companies have failed to do – get people up and out. I think this is a step in the right direction, especially for the future of gaming.