I am going to start off this post by putting a simple fact out there that will give everyone a point of reference for where the ideas of this post is coming from.
I am not a Pokemon fan on any level.
I remember when it first came out I received some promotional video in the mail for some reason telling me all about it. I was extremely under impressed by what I saw. I could not envision this being anything more than a total bomb of a concept. I mean taking the whole concept of cock fighting and making it appealing to kids... If the kids even got into it, I foresaw some major protesting over the concept itself. The toys looked lame and I found the cartoon to be one of the most boring things to watch and the first movie was just poorly thought out on so many levels, and the video game just felt pointless.
So somehow it has been around nearly 20 years now and my basic opinions of it all has not changed. I truly do not for one moment understand the overall appeal of Pokemon.
So last week Pokemon Go hits the world and everywhere you turn you're hearing about. People are getting outside and being active and a sense of community is forming over this new game to a franchise I have had no real interest in. I admit I was curious.
My girlfriend was also curious it turns out and she downloaded the game just a few days ago to check it out herself. She came over last night and the two of us spent some time yesterday evening roaming around my neighborhood hunting Pokemon. As a natural gamer, I quickly found myself getting into the mechanics of the game.
Today my boys got back from an out of state camping trip. Both of them had downloaded the game, but had not had much time to play it. I promised them that we would get out and do some Pokemon hunting this evening.
We ended up at a local park that had a lot of Pokestops. We roamed the park, along with at least two hundred others, catching Pokemon. The park was noticeably crowded, with a lot of people who were clearly having fun and being social. We ran into friends and had polite, friendly exchanges with strangers as well as enjoyed walking around as a family.
So my whole experience with this game has been highly positive on every level.
On Facebook I keep seeing memes mocking those who play Pokemon Go for some reason. There seems to be an attitude that "I'm not into this game and don't want to play it, so all those who are playing it should be made fun of." Where does that come from? I am not a Pokemon fan, yet I have never put down those who enjoy the franchise for their enjoyment of it. And even before I played the game, I had already seen the evidence of all the beneficial aspects that the game was promoting. Even if I had not gotten into playing the game, there was no denying the positive influence the game is having on many levels. This is clearly the kind of thing we as a society should be promoting. Yet somehow we still get stuck with individuals who have to take that extra step to be difficult for no good reason. If you're not into such a game, then don't play it. There is no need to put others down for enjoying it when it actually is doing no harm, while doing a lot of good.
While I am still not a fan of a franchise as a whole, I will say that I have been enjoying Pokemon Go. I do plan to play it as I can. My money is on us seeing dozens of the socially interacting games like it coming out over the next year and that there will be a evolution of this style of game taking over, making us more active with each other. I do recommend everyone at least give it a try and see if its their thing or not. If it doesn't draw you in, it was free and uses the phone you already have, so it is not going to cost you anything but some time to find out. And if you do get interested in it, then there's a good chance you'll get more exercise and meet some neighbors.