Okay okay. I know. WAAAAAY too early. I have such a strong feeling about this game (that’s pretty much sweeping the entire world) that I have to posit the question. I would say to forgive the click bait-y title, but it’s really not. This question legitimately arose in my tiny cranium for the reasons below. Read on:
This game has been available on Android and iOS for what? Three days? Three days. Three days and countless memes, unbridled chatter concerning it over social media, and get this: You can see people on the street playing it CONSTANTLY.
Over the weekend I took three walks and encountered at least a dozen people playing as we walked past each other. When is the last time you physically saw that many people playing the same mobile game as you, and in a matter of about two days? Heck, not even two days. I was walking for probably a total of 90 minutes, and aside from that there was also a guy playing it in a concert hall on Friday to boot.
In the interest of full disclosure, I hate Pokemon overall. It was just a little too cutesy for my personal tastes and I was legitimately bored with the little I’ve played of the handheld games. I didn’t think I would like this. I tried it because I had heard rumblings and thought the AR/camera function sounded neat.
At first I was a little bummed. I thought you just walked around your house finding Pokemon under the sink or whatever. Maybe head out to the backyard to give it a little more of an “in the wild” feel. That’s it though. Just a novelty collect-a-thon to kill time and take screen shots when you find an Oddish hiding in your garden or something.
Then I realized there was a lot more to it and that the game had more wide-reaching implications than I would’ve imagined. I love, LOVE that you have to actually get off your ass and take a walk to play this game effectively. My first real search was along a riverfront park. Local “landmarks” were represented within the game (with the help of other GPS-driven utilities obviously), which felt really comforting and familiar. The game felt very tailored to me personally, and at the same time I felt a connection with others. It’s hard not to when you are passing people that are on the very same hunt you are.
I’ve never seen so many nerds out and about, and everyone else obviously! The game seems to have transcended just being something “gamers” play. It’s tapping into the Candy Crush player craving a quick fix and the fitness enthusiast to an extent as well. Everyone is blending together in a way I haven’t see before, and that’s why I feel the game is fantastic. That and the fact that to get the most out of the game you have to get out of the damn house, which don’t get me wrong I have a problem with myself at times.
What other games have blended fitness and….well games….this well? Like ever? Just Dance could only dream of reaching this level of popularity. Microsoft’s Kinect-driven fitness stuff is actually very good, but it’s just like a gym membership: it’s only as good as what you make of it. There’s no dangling carrot with these games, nothing to appeal to the gamer side of you. Pokemon Go does though. Even if you don’t care about battling and extra items and all the other frills, there’s still that perpetual need to catch ’em all.
In a way, this game has everything. Gamers, joggers, your mom, or your little nephew can all agree the “game” part of it is there. Those same demographics can also agree on the way it’s interwoven into physical fitness. Like I said, name me another game that has done it? How about one that’s done it to this degree of success? There isn’t a one.
Now look, I’m not saying Pokemon Go is going to turn every couch potato into a finely shredded surfer dude or bikini model. I will say this though: those three walks I took this weekend? I would’ve taken maybe, MAYBE, one of them without this game. That’s a hell of an improvement. Anyone that increases their physical activity that much, with a reasonable diet, should see results to a certain degree. I’m no physical trainer (god you have no idea how far I am way from making that claim), but I do know that more activity is better than less. This gives anyone more, with the added opportunity of still being nerdy. This game has successfully combined real world results with virtual results. Who knows how long it’ll last, but it’s an amazing achievement if you ask me. I’m off to play more, but what do you think?