I can distinctly remember when Pokémon first hit the world. The challenge of collecting and training all 151 of these unique creatures seemed nearly impossible and yet, was something every kid with a Gameboy was set on doing.
Pokémon, for those unfamiliar, is a video game series from Nintendo. It began sweeping the world in the Nineties and hasn’t let up since. The games begin by having a Professor enlist your help in researching creatures known as Pokémon. By capturing them in the wild, you’re able to better understand them and form bonds of friendship. There have been numerous sequels, each expanding not only the world but the number of Pokémon that inhabit it.
Now a new game has players getting up out of their seats and setting off on adventures of their own.
Pokémon Go, a brand new mobile app, isn’t something you can simply play on the toilet. It takes the Pokémon game you know and brings it to life. By using augmented reality and GPS, players can now walk around their neighborhood or cities to encounter and capture Pokémon.
The app is simple to use. Like all of the other games, you’re tasked by a Professor to capture all of the Pokémon you possibly can. This time however, you’ll have to get up and out of the house to do it. You’ll receive information about what Pokémon are nearby and shown on your map where they are. By walking to that location, you’re then able to capture that Pokémon and add it to your collection. After capturing one, you can then increase its strength, make it evolve, battle with other Trainers, or even choose to set them free.
But do you want to know one of the best parts about this app? It gets you moving.
Obesity, especially in children, is a problem. It’s a problem that has been steadily getting worse with no signs of improvement. Pokémon Go is a tool to fight it. Getting kids (and even adults) up and out of the house and making them active. It’s a genius move and is masked so well by the cute faces of these creatures.
Not only does it attribute to your health but it can be a great tool for getting familiar with where you live. The app uses GPS to map your location and by traveling, you’ll learn more about what’s around you. Certain landmarks or “Pokéstops” (Usually Police Stations, Churches, Etc.) can always be seen on the map, traveling to these areas will give you supplies such as Pokéballs (Used to capture Pokémon) It’s a neat idea to get kids familiar with these places.
Pokémon Go is an absolute hit and in the few days since its release, has already topped the app store charts on both Android and Apple devices. It has also raised Nintendo’s stock 23%. According to David Ingles of Bloomberg, this is “the best one-day move for Nintendo stock since 1983.”
With millions of users, the app is even starting to bring people together and create new friendships. Last night as I was leaving from work, a group looking to be around my age was walking down the road. All with their phones out, and discussing the Pokémon hiding just steps away. I pulled my phone out and approached them and to my surprise was greeted like was one of their best friends. We continued down the road, when a Pokémon known as Abra appeared. Without hesitation, I caught it and was congratulated by my newfound friends. It was then I realized how amazing a simple app could be.
Now as fun as the app is, it’s always wise to use caution. If you’re going to be out playing, it’s a good idea to play with friends, take water, and keep aware of your surroundings. Don’t go to places you obviously shouldn’t just for the sake of getting a Pokémon, trust me, another one will turn up later in a safer place. No Vulpix is worth running out in the street for.
So if you’re an aspiring Pokémon Trainer, then I wish you all the luck! Catch ‘em all and be safe!