It’s been a mere 8 days since the release of Pokémon Go in Australia and if you haven’t heard about it yet, you’ve must have been living under a rock!
In a nutshell, Pokémon Go is a game where you race around your hood catching virtual monsters called Pokémon on your smart phone. Just quietly, it’s also tipped to be the most successful app of all time.
But here’s how this game can actually improve your life…and how I went from Pokémon Go sceptic to completely hooked!
Why I opened my mind to this phenomenon
At first, I was pretty sceptical about the game. Wouldn’t this just be another of many distractions? If you know me, you’ll know that it doesn’t take much to distract me…look, a squirrel! Not to mention the fact that I am seriously challenged when it comes to technology. Before I’d even taken a good look at it, I’d discounted it as a waste of time and just another fad that would come and go. I was taking the moral high ground as someone who wouldn’t lower myself to playing it.
A trip to one of our local coffee hangs had me rethinking my initial feelings about the game. As we were standing waiting to order coffee, Elaina was banging on about how the tech was so amazing (read: speaking nerd) and me being sceptical and flippant, I responded by saying I wasn’t really digging the whole thing…then the guy standing in front of us in the line for Bourke Street Bakery immediately turned around and started chatting to us about it.
The turning point
This conversation was the start of my love affair with Pokémon Go. I realised very quickly that this game is SO much more than just a game. This guy standing in the queue with us had never been to this café before, he and his girlfriend were only there because it was a Pokéstop (read: a place where you can top up on essential items such as Poké Balls to help you catch Pokémon).
Had it not been for this game, he may never have gotten to try the delectable pastries at Bourke Street Bakery and we might never have gotten to chat with him. The immediate common ground that we had with this game was amazing. Like we were all part of a special club where nerds and non-nerds can come together in a virtual reality game…but in REAL LIFE.
How to get the most from Pokémon Go
The art of human connection has been lost in recent years. Thanks to smart phones and head phones it’s a rare occurrence to spark up a conversation with the person next to you on the bus without them thinking you’re a complete weirdo.
Enter Pokémon Go.
To start with, you need to get up and leave the comfort of the couch and walk around your neighbourhood. Yep, that’s right, you can’t actually play the game sitting indoors by yourself. Elaina tells me it’s the new benchmark in gaming. The experts call it Augmented Reality, where the real world and the gaming world blend into one another. Pretty cool huh?
To really get the most out of this game though, you need to get out there and talk to other people who are playing it. This is a revelation in gaming. Peeps of all ages are getting out there (yes, in the real world!) and having fun together by playing this game.
Now everyone has a reason to keep their smart phone in their hand but enjoy some human interaction at the same time! Genius.
Pokémon Go is getting Aussies out and about
And then there’s the benefits to your health. The fact that the game can only be played if you get off your butt and go for a walk is sheer brilliance. All over Australia, people have been responding to this game in such a positive way.
In terms of mental health, there’s been a dramatic surge in reports from people with anxiety and depression that this game is helping them get out of the house and socialise. This game is improving people’s lives! Now if that’s not a reason to celebrate this technology, I don’t know what is.
You’ll discover new spots in your hood
In the last 48 hours, we’ve discovered a bunch of places in our hood that we never even knew were there. Street art, parks and reserves, cafes and pubs that were never on our radar have been brought to our attention by popping up on Pokémon Go as a Pokéstop!
In Pokémon Go, the further you venture, the more you’re rewarded. This means we’ve been pounding the pavements for miles around catching Pokémon. You even have to walk extra bunch of kilometres to hatch your eggs! If this means nothing to you, download the app right now and it will start to make sense. Promise. 😉
Parents are connecting with their kids, people old and young, far and wide are making new friends. There’s a feeling of hope and excitement in the air as you smile at the guy walking down the street who just caught his first Charmander (translation: a cute chameleon/lizardy type Pokémon). The world just seems like a happier place with Pokémon Go in your pocket.
Businesses are also benefitting by setting off Lures to bring in the Pokémon…and the paying customers in the process! Smart business owners can really take advantage of the additional footfall happening all over the country.
The ‘not so good’ bits about Pokémon Go
The downside is there of course. One guy crashed his car into a tree while driving and trying to catch Pokémon and there have been multiple reports that gangs of excitable Pokémon Trainers have been congregating outside people’s houses late at night which has been ruffling a few feathers of curtain twitchers in the process.
Moral of the story here, don’t use your phone and drive. It’s an idiotic thing to do under any circumstance. Don’t blame the game, just stop being a moron! Same goes for crossing the road and staring at your phone. Just NO!
And being considerate of your neighbours is a given.
The thing I love most about this game…
I’ve also been loving the banter I’ve been having with my youngest brother who was totally into Pokémon back in the day (circa 2001). His Pokédex was a whole folder of Pokémon cards back then. And I totally didn’t get it. Now I do.
I’m so excited for it to be released in the UK on iPhone so we can have more convos about Pokémon Go. He tells me the game gets even better when you can battle.
Now, let’s go catch them all!
Have you fallen in love with Pokémon Go? What positive impact has this game had on you? Comment below and let us know what you’re digging about it.
P.S – It’s not just young whipper snappers out there playing this game. Check out why the baby boomers are loving it too over at Contented Traveller.