By now, if you haven’t heard of Pokemon Go, you
are definitely living off-grid.
Pokemon Go, is an augmented reality game based on the
Pokemon concept. If you are my generation, then you are mostly familiar with
the animated series with the famous line “I Choose You, Pikachu!”. The Pokemon
mega franchise ranges from games, animated series, manga, trading cards, to
even the All Nippon Airways Pokemon Jet.
Without getting into too much details of how to play Pokemon
Go, because there are lots and lots of “for dummies” pages online you can get a
crash course for, I’m simply here to say that we liked the game, for 2 weeks.
The game itself, in my opinion, is for pretty much all
ages…ok, so maybe 3/4 and up.
Consider that it’s for all ages, you can pretty much make it
as simple as you want it to be, or as complicated as you want it to be. You can
geek out like my PhD brother and his equally academically brilliant girlfriend
and spend the entire weekend unleashing your cyber wrath at Pokegyms, you can
use it as a great promotional tool to attract people to your retail business,
or you can just simply go out, and catch some Pokemons with your child, like
what I did with my 5 year old.
When the game first came out, I saw two distinct sides of
reactions. I heard the Debbie Downers, rolling their eyes saying “whatever”, I
also heard the other side, folks that were squealing excitement aplenty. Here’s
the thing, I’m a nerd at heart, so when I heard about it, I was very curious,
but at the same time, I was wary about actually participating…because I know
me, I like stuff like this, and I’d want to spend time playing the game, and
I’m not sure I want to spend time playing, when I really should be doing boring
things like vacuuming the house, and steam mopping the floors…
I finally caved, when the game released in Canada, I
downloaded it. Of course I had to download it at midnight (sarcasm), when the
game loaded up on my screen, I sat there, paused for a moment, and actually
contemplated on going for a walk to my local park to check out what this
“Pokestop” was all about, because it’s a short 2 minute walk from me. Luckily,
I didn’t, I chose sleep instead.
6 hours later, upon waking up, getting my 2 daughters
dressed, we dashed off to drop my older one to summer camp. On my way home, you
guessed it, I stopped by 1of my 2 locals parks with this Pokestop. Here I was,
stopped on the side of the curb, vehicle appropriately parked, looking at my
phone, discovering this Pokestop. I quickly figure out what it does, collect my
goodies, then put my phone away. I look up at my rearview mirror, about to
drive off, I see a very nice SUV creeping up behind me, pulling to a complete
stop. I wait to observe this vehicle behind me. Within 10 seconds, this vehicle
slowly pulls away from the curb and drives off, but not without making eye
contact with me, holding up his phone smiling at me, and giving me the big thumbs
up! Apparently, we were all on the same page!
Afterwards, I spent about 30 minutes exploring the game, and
catching a few Pokemon that popped up on my phone as I navigate through it.
When my older daughter came home from camp, I decided I
would show her this game. Her mind was completely blown! What? You catch
invisible animals that only your cell phone can see?!
So I made her a deal: we would go out hunting for Pokemon
after I’d put my younger daughter to bed, but only if she was properly showered,
teeth brushed, etc. The deal would be to go for about 30-60 minutes, depending
on time, and when she came back, go straight to bed.
We did this for a few days straight, and she loved it in the
beginning, and I enjoyed it as well, because it was a harmless little game in
my opinion, and when we were hunting, she walked very briskly and I found that the
exercise helped get her energy out of her system before bedtime.
Here's the interesting part, many people say they see people walking around with their head glued to their phones and aren't watching where they're going, the statement is half true in my opinion. Yes, once you have to do stuff on your phone to catch a Pokemon, grab goodies, or fight at a gym, you do look at your phone, but you are not really obliged to be walking around with your head stuck to your phone all the time. We walked around, looking at parts of our neighbourhood, and when a Pokemon pops up, the phone vibrates, we stop, make sure we're in a safe spot before proceeding with any catching of Pokemons. As you are probably wondering what that silly orange bib is for on my 5 year old, that was her being imaginative and we collected and assigned different types of tree leaves, flowers, and pine cones for the different Pokemons that we caught.
In total, we played avidly for almost 2 weeks.
Then came the kicker...the more Pokemons you catch, and the
more time you spend on it, the higher the level you reach, and the higher the
level, the tougher it became to catch each of these Pokemons…sure enough, it became
tough enough that each Pokemon required more than a handful of balls thrown at
these virtual animals (mostly pigeons, rats of worms anyways), and when you
have to spend an extended period of time to catch these critters, well, your 5
year old starts to lose interest and patience. Quite frankly, it wasn’t just my
daughter that was losing interest, I was as well…
After 2 weeks, going on the third week, I asked her
routinely on one night whether she wanted to go out, and her respond was “Not
really, mommy.” I asked the second night, same response, so I stopped asking on
the third night. It’s been 4 days and she’s stopped asking for it, and I haven’t
mentioned it either.
Overall, it was fun while it lasted, and frankly, I was
worried about my own possible addiction for nothing.
If you’re curious, go knock yourself out and give it a try,
you might like it for a little bit, and like me, I imagine you’ll probably get