I’m sure you’ve heard all about it.
You’re probably sick of it, in fact.
The latest craze since “Candy Crush” – “Pokemon Go!”.
So, what’s the big deal?
I admit – I’m hooked. My 21 year old, gamer son and I had a conversation about it prior to its release. I didn’t really understand the big deal, until my FaceBook blew up with media frenzy and friends either singing its praises or loathing its existence.
I played Pokemon back in the day. For one, it had bats and in case you’re new to my blogs, bats are my thing. This was before “Twilight” and the vampire romance craze that made bats more socially acceptable and readily available. It was one of the few video games I got into, after Nintendo cartridges (you know…the ones that resemble 8-track cassettes, that frequently required cleaning by blowing them out). Granted, I’ve played a few on my phone and computer, but for the most part, I’m not a gamer.
Now, I do understand some of the reasons people hate it, without even giving it a fair “go”. I’ve already seen several stories of obsessed players, stealing critters and cheating the system. I’m also one of those people who refuses to pay real money for advantages in a game, which, like most video games these days, you have that option.
I also see the concerns regarding playing while driving; looking at the phone instead of the road. Not to mention, that really defeats the intended goal of the game. I’m not saying that I won’t necessarily have mine on and be checking while my husband is behind the wheel, but it’s a valid concern. After all, you can’t fix stupid.
The idea, however, when used as intended, is brilliant.
Here’s the basics.
Just like back in the day, the object is to “catch them all”, build them up, help them evolve and use them in battles. The twist though, is the brilliant idea to merge the days of going outside to play, with the video game/cell phone generation.
The critters are largely based on location. Which means, you have to get up and move in order to locate new, rare and different Pokemon. For example, living in the Gods-awful Arizona desert, I catch a lot of snakes, bugs, rodents and birds. Pretty accurate.
In order to expand my collection, travel is required. Water creatures will be found near oceans, lakes and rivers. Mountainous areas hold their own special population, just like real animals in their real environments.
While I’ve built up a pretty impressive collection just by walking around our yard and neighborhood, variety is the spice of life. And, that’s the key. A special pop-up on the game screen shows you what’s nearby and an approximation on how far you need to go to have a chance at snagging it. The more footprints associated with a picture (denoting you have that particular Pokemon in your collection already) or silhouette (announcing this particular critter is new to you), the further away from your current locale.
Think of it like a cross between a treasure hunt and Easter egg hunt – the game tells you if you’re warm or cold, to a degree.
Now, if you’re like me and refuse to pay for more Pokeballs or incense (used to help lure Pokemon to your location), potions and sprays to heal them from battles or magic berries to make rare Pokemon easier to capture and keep (they can break loose from the Pokeballs), the next cool part of this concept comes into play.
Areas like public parks, museums, art exhibits and malls have what’s called PokeStops. A symbol appears letting you know one is nearby, which will gift you with some of the aforementioned goodies, once every five or so minutes while in range. Now, we’re getting a bit of culture, social interaction and a new experience or two.
A good friend of mine brought up another benefit I hadn’t previously considered – since you’re required to throw the Pokeballs to catch the Pokemon, it takes a fair amount of patience and dexterity to learn how and when to best capture them. Hence, improving mental and physical agility and coordination.
Love it or loathe it, used as intended, Pokemon Go could be a serious “game changer” in the battle against obesity, laziness and narrow-minded ruts. Hell, I’ve walked more in the last 24 hours trying to catch the little shits, than I typically do in a week.
Highly addictive, so many people are playing, servers can’t keep up with the demand. I’ve found later in the evening has been the best time for me to play and stay connected, even though they note on the website that they are working to resolve the issue.
Of course, there’s more to it. I have yet to find a PokeStop or what’s called a Gym, in order to establish a team or participate in any battles, so I can’t yet form any opinion regarding that. Then again, we live in BFE and it’s only been a day.
While the game does walk you through all the basics when you first download it, the Pokemon Go website does offer a lot of very useful information – especially if you’re just curious and not ready to commit to the free download.
The game also reminds you, every time you load, to use common sense. As discussed, don’t play while driving, always be aware of what’s going on in the real world and when picking a user name, don’t use anything personal or sensitive, like your real name.
Like anything, please play responsibly and before you judge, give the notion a GO!