Ok so I came to the conclusion that it would be wrong for me, somebody who claims to want to write about lifestyle, that be in general and my own life too, to not say anything about the phenomenon that is Pokemon Go. It is a craze that has gripped the world, having been downloaded more times than Candy Crush and Tinder as well as being searched more times on Google than porn. Having been released in America less than two weeks ago, and released in Europe and the UK in the last couple of days it is safe to say this is a game that has got everybody talking. But why? Why is this game so popular? Why is it intriguing to so many of us? And how has it managed to have such a huge effect on great portions of the world? So much so that it is becoming the norm to see people walking down the street eyes glued to their phone searching for the nearby Pokemon.
I admit I am somebody who went to the efforts of creating an American Apple account just so I could download the game quicker, rather than wait for the UK release. But why? I can only say that the hype I saw on twitter got me intrigued. I follow so many American accounts that it was just not a topic I could avoid seeing. However, although it was this initial hype that got me intrigued, it was not necessarily this that caused me to go to the lengths I did to access it. For me, I believe it was nostalgia the game brings to an older player. I was one of those kids that played Pokemon on my Gameboy and Gameboy colour, I collected and traded the Pokemon cards, and I watched the T.V programmes and movie. Thus when I think of being a kid again one of the major things I remember is Pokemon, and I believe this is a similar feeling for many people. Therefore, it is then understandable why something such as Pokemon Go has exploded as it has. It enables those who grew up with Pokemon to relive their youth, to ignore their adult priorities and responsibilities for a short time. It is therefore for many a form of escapism.
This is all well and good for those in a situation where they have grown up with Pokemon, but what about those who did not associate with or are just too young to have experienced it? Some would say that everyone is ‘jumping on the bandwagon’, that they are simply following the latest craze, but I’m not so sure about that. Yes, maybe that was many people’s primary reason to download the app, but it has to have been good for them to keep it and remain playing, right? For me I feel like the apps creators Niantic, Inc have struck gold in the creation of the game. In order to play one must venture outside and go ‘hunting’ for Pokemon, Pokestops and Gyms. And in order to do this many, kids for example, go out exploring with their friends. It has therefore become a game which you play by yourself yet encourages you to go outside and socialise with others. Because after all how many people, when they really think about it, enjoy being cooped up in their bedrooms playing games and not seeing their friends. Probably very few. Alongside the idea of socialising with friends the app also encourages one to explore places and areas they may never have been to. Therefore, in a sense expanding one’s horizons.
When you think about it, there are many advantages to this app. Some shops and businesses have reported more visitors to their premises. Many neighbourhoods, in America, have come together in order to play this game. People have reported socialising and making friends with people they would not normally associate themselves with. The key idea behind the app gets people out the house and moving. You even have to walk a set amount of kilometres in order to hatch an egg. Therefore, you could say the app is playing its part in getting today’s kids and even adults moving more.
However, all great ideas come with their disadvantages too. We have to look on the flip side of such a game. You will often get those that are so into a game that they just do not connect with the world around them. For a game like Pokemon Go this could be extremely fatal. For example, you could be led out into the road trying to catch a Pokemon or you could be lead to a dangerous area you would not normally even contemplate going. It is important then to emphasise to people, children in particular, that the world around them still exists. The present dangers before the games release are still there. People should therefore remain alert even if there is a Mewtwo on the other side of a busy road, or on railway track.
This though has been a phenomenon I have enjoyed seeing progress. I have seen the app bring smiles to people’s faces and bring a lot of people together. It has been a great thing to witness, in a time that unity and solidarity is important to the world. Though only time will tell if the game is simply the ‘latest phase’ or whether it will stand the test of time. However for those few that slate the game and those that tell people to ‘grow up’ for playing it, I’d like you to answer me this: why are you so negative about people reliving their childhood, about people socialising, about people exploring the world? Because there are so many other, more deserving things in the world that this negativity could go towards.