Pokemon Go – love it, hate it or just don’t get it?

By now you must have already played it, heard about it, or seen people playing it. And even if you think you have not, chances are that you might have actually already seen people playing it. If and when you see people gathered in an area, but no one is talking to each other and instead everyone is walking around in a daze with their heads buried in their phones, then those are what I call Pokemon zombies – or simply people looking for Pokemon. (Read on, I promise I’m not biased.)

I’m not going to talk about what Pokemon Go is. There are plenty of blog posts and YouTube videos on the Internet that dwell into this.

You generally will fall into one of the following categories when it comes to Pokemon Go:

  1. Love it
  2. Hate it
  3. Don’t get it

I fall under category 3 (somewhat).

I don’t get it, but I get it.

I know it’s not for me. I tried it, but I simply don’t feel the appeal. Although, I do get the appeal purely from an analytical point of view.

So what is the appeal? Why has Pokemon become such a craze?

Nostalgia


Here is a sample Pokemon Battle

Pokemon was a popular cartoon in the 90s and the Pokemon Go game gives players a very similar experience as the characters in the cartoon. Personally, while growing up I would watch the cartoon every now and then, but I was never a big fan of it.

Players get to go around (literally go around, as in, physically move and go to different places – not just virtually) looking for Pokemon, they have to capture the Pokemon and sometimes these creatures will fight back and not want to be captured, once captured players can ‘train’ them and evolve them into better fighters and eventually battle with other players.

The game keeps things very close to the original cartoon and for a lot of players it’s a way to relive their childhood.

Primal Instinct

The game at its core is a scavenger hunt. We humans evolved from a hunter and gatherer society so there is something that just clicks, perhaps the game taps into our primal instincts.

Bang Wagon

Some people just don’t care what it is, but they are more than happy to jump on the bandwagon and ride the hype wave so to speak. These drifters will drift from one hype to the other and at the moment it just happens to be Pokemon Go.

Social aspect

The game has a social aspect to it as well. There are Pokemon Go stops where there are lots of Pokemon hiding, battle arenas, Pokemon balls to collect etc… I’ve heard stories about people being glad to meet other players. Friends get to talk about their collections and have group meet ups.

I have to admit, even though I thought it was silly, I did actually meetup with a few friends to go Pokemon hunting. (My justification is that I had not seen them in a long time, and it was a call of curiosity more than anything.)

I personally will take people walking around and hunting for Pokemon over them drinking, sitting at home, drugs, fights, vandalism  etc… If this game takes people’s focus away from negatives, let it be.

Physical Exercise

This might not work if you are driving top Pokemon stops and then driving back home, however, from what I have heard from a lot of people is that they are doing some serious walking. A friend even claimed to have lost 5 pounds in the process.

Why might people hate it?

But for those of you who love Pokemon, it might be difficult (very difficult) to see why people hate Pokemon Go.

Trespassing and Traffic Chaos

This has to be the biggest problem caused by this game. Sometimes Pokemon are hiding on people’s backyards, lawns, buildings and other private property. Needless to say, most people do not like strangers on their property.

pokemon warning- tresspassing
You know it’s a problem when a game tells you not to trespass.

There have been numerous reports on the news about people creating congestion at busy places like transportation terminals, business areas and parks. It causes interruptions and delays for people who just want to go home or get to work, and try having a relaxing day at the park when you have the entire park filled with hundreds of people walking around to catch Pokemon.

All this can be a nuisance, but it becomes dangerous when people start crossing roads on red lights, or biking and playing or worse driving and playing Pokemon Go. There was an incident where a Pokemon Go player drove into a Police car. People have hurt themselves in road accidents and even hurt themselves falling of cliffs – yes that’s right people fell off of cliffs hunting for Pokemon.

pokemon warning- safety
You know it’s a problem when a game tells you to stay aware of your surroundings.

Social or Anti Social?

You might see hundreds of people gathered in an area, but is anyone even aware that there is another person next to them, much less be talking to them. I was near The Living Arts Center in Mississauga the other night and there were hundreds of people walking around with their heads buried in their phone. It was actually an eerie sight seeing people behaving like zombies.

Addiction

Yes, there are people who have gotten addicted to this game. Some have spent hundreds even thousands of dollars on this game. When I was out with a few friends near a popular Pokemon Go area, I saw a couple of people angrily swearing at their phones in frustration. There have been reports of physical fights resulting from Pokemon Go!

Of course, addiction is not just limited to this game or just games in general. The key is balance! I know this may sound funny, but if you see your friends or family addicted to this game, you may need to intervene.

The Neutral

As I said earlier,

I don’t get it, but I get it.

For people who think Pokemon Go is stupid,… is it really? Yes, sure there is no “real” point to the game. People aren’t achieving anything by collecting these Pokemon, but isn’t that true for almost everything. What’s the point of collecting baseball cards? Or playing video games on your xbox? Or watching TV? Sure you can come up with reasons to support doing those activities, and likewise the people who are into Pokemon have their reasons.

For Pokemon players, be safe, be respectful for other people’s properties, don’t create traffic chaos for people who need to go to work or home.

Have fun, be Safe, stay within your limits, and once in a while, just put your phone away and talk to people around you.

That’s my take on Pokemon Go, what’s yours?