If you have logged on any social media for the past month, you probably saw a post from a friend about the new smartphone app: Pokemon Go.
Pokemon Go is an augmented reality game that encourages people to go outside and play along with Pokemon. Alright, I don't know exactly how it works, but I do know that this application is making people leave their houses in order to collect supplies, capture pokemon, battle gyms, and of course, meet new (and real-life) people!
At first, I thought this was going to be a silly game that was only going to be popular for about a week. However, with its popularity, the servers went down often, but that didn't stop people from wanting to play the game. The game is something special to individuals, especially to the millennials. You see, when I was around 6 years old (year 1999-2000), I remember Pokemon being really popular. I remember seeing the different trading cards, but I had no idea what they meant-- and to be honest, I still kind of don't know what they mean.
Nevertheless, Pokemon was a staple for the millennial generation that ignited the love for anime tv shows, trading cards, and of course, video games! I remember my neighbor had a GameBoy that he played Pokemon on. He was nice enough to let me play, but I honestly still had no idea what I was doing-- at this point, I was in the 3rd/4th grade.
Since I didn't have consoles to play video games on, I didn't really have the passion for pokemon like others do. However, I use Pokemon Go as an opportunity to re-live my video game deprived childhood. (Okay, my childhood wasn't that bad. I actually loved playing outside and playing computer games!).
With the help of social media, everyone can state their opinion whenever they can, and in fact, many people complain how this new Pokemon Go is silly and pointless. Well, one can say that about anything! Candy crush, Geocaching, Neko Atsume, Boom Beach, etc. If there is a game that interests you, play it! We live in a world where we have thousands of games at our fingertips, and there is actually something there for everyone!
Now, who do I see playing Pokemon Go? Answer: EVERYONE. Yes, people of all ages, races, and religions. Why? Because it is a game that revolves around your movement and your environment.
And-- this is why I like the game, and this is how this game relates to my blog: it uses geospatial features to determine your location, and it encourages you to travel to new places to gather supplies, battle gyms, and of course, collect new Pokemon.
So the people that created Pokemon Go are the same people that created Ingress, another smartphone game that uses your location to play the game. You see, these "poke-stops" are mostly unique locations that have a symbolic feature to its surrounding area. In Flagstaff, most of these stops are plaques, statues, and artwork. You see, this encourages geo-tourism since you can learn a lot about a city's history and culture with the help of your handheld GPS device.
But what I think I love most about this game is that it wants you to leave your house and explore hidden gems around your town. Many people miss out on the history and culture of their city. Even though I've only lived in Flagstaff for a year, I am already learning a lot about Flagstaff because of this game.
So, I think Pokemon Go is a great way to play a game while also moving and exploring the town/city that you're in. Obviously, don't go to places that make you uncomfortable, and ALWAYS PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR SURROUNDINGS. Don't walk into people, don't walk into oncoming traffic, and don't go in dark alleys by yourself! Even if you are texting in walking, you should still do this. I think people are getting too caught up into the game, that they forget about the real-world. If you have good spatial skills, you can determine where upcoming pokestops are on the map, and your phone vibrates when a "wild pokemon" appears.
Use common sense, get outside, learn something new, and of course, have fun! Brandon and I went to a meet-up two weeks ago, and there were at least 100 people there. I've seen events for Pub Crawls and Flash Mobs. My advice: always go with a friend-- use the buddy system. Plus, it's more fun when you have someone with you!
Have fun! Collect them all! :)