I’ll be honest. I was pretty irritated when I found out my boyfriend had started playing Pokémon GO, like just about everyone else in the world this month. He didn’t need something else to distract him from real life. I’m no angel when it comes to distractions a la mobile phone, but it seemed to me like this new app was going to be nothing but trouble.
It started on Friday night. Earlier in the day, I had seen a few strange Facebook posts from my friends discussing Pokémon GO. At first, I wondered, “Pokémon? What? Why are people talking about this silly card game from so long ago?” As I saw more posts, it started to make sense. A new app. Well, whatever. That’s fun for them.
When I found out that evening that this new app had invaded my home, I was less apathetic. Like I said, my boyfriend did not need another time suck. (He should really take a tip from Jenn and unplug.) We have a lot going on right now as we are finishing up a kitchen renovation project, and I need as much of his attention on that as I can get.
And it gets worse. We went out with some friends Friday night, and they were playing, too! I couldn’t believe it. I drove the four of us to dinner and a party, and the whole time, they were asking me to slow down or circle the block because they needed to catch the nearby Pokémon.
My nightmare continued as we noticed that everyone on the street seemed to be playing, too. I couldn’t believe it.
But then I learned more about Pokémon GO. It requires movement to advance and progress through the game. You have to walk 10 km to “hatch an egg,” whatever that means. The game actually encourages players to explore their surroundings as it pairs the real world with a virtual world. Certain Pokémon can only be found near specific locations, such as water-type Pokémon near a lake or ocean. This encourages even more adventure for some people. “Get on your feet and step outside to find and catch wild Pokémon,” the official website says.
Suddenly, my boyfriend and friends wanted to go for a walk after dinner. Granted, they wanted to walk to the ice cream shop, but they also decided to walk and eat it rather than sit inside. And they spent the whole walk looking at their phones, but I was pretty happy with the post-meal movement.
Apparently, according to my Facebook and Twitter timelines, Pokémon GO has significantly increased many people’s movement lately. My friends have been going to parks and walking around their neighborhoods and moving more than they have in a long time (years for some!). And that is something I can get behind in a game. I am all for anything that encourages the masses to move.
Are you playing Pokémon GO, too? —Megan