Pokemon Go…. Or Don’t Go… The Choice is Yours

Throughout the ages, we have seen fads of all shapes and sorts. The ant Farm or Lava Lamp in the 60’s, Roller Skates or Pet Rocks in the 70’s, The Walkman and Cabbage Patch Kids in the 80’s, or beanie babies and boy bands in the 90’s. Every decade has its must haves. For our current decade, the winner so far is the BIG game by the little studio Niantic Labs. Yes, I’m talking Pokemon Go!.   

Prior to the launch of Pokemon Go, Niantic was a near obscure small offshoot of a Google Company called Alphabet. It made a few games, but had no great notoriety around them, then came Pokemon Go.   

In a heartbeat, the company goes from being obscure, to being larger than life…. and soon, larger than Twitter.
The game has become a phenomenon unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Upon limited release, it became the most sought after game on the planet. People who never knew what “side-loading” was, were getting the app on thier android phones. Account creation in the US apple Store was up 500%. People were just not willing to wait for this epic game. I would hazard a guess that all the folks in Canada that downloaded it on Launch day, only did it to get the “official” version for thier country.   

My kids and I were no different. We held off on the lure of Pokemon the best we could, but after a week of hearing how awesome this game was, we couldn’t wait any longer.   
Fast forward to July 17, and it launches in Canada “officially”. 

  
There has been no shortage of controversy surrounding this game either. From Memorials and Graveyards not wanting people playing the game on grounds, to nefarious individuals luring players to locations to rob them.   
Arlington National Cemetery has asked all players to refrain from the playing on the grounds, citing “Lack of Decorum”. Have the residents complained?   
I agree that people should have respect, but if I have my volume off, and Catch a Pokemon in ANC, how is that disrespectful? Would they admonish someone taking a normal picture? It really comes down to the person playing, not the game.   

The Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C is a “PokeStop”. The museum is trying to get the location removed from the game. I can tell you, that playing the game myself, I have discovered places that I didn’t know existed. Many have. All of the Pokestops are places of note, and not randomly decided. I’m sure many more people than normal have discovered the museum, and likely gone in when they otherwise wouldn’t have. The Pokestop does not require entrance, and can usually be gotten at a distance.   

And lets not forget the physical and mental components. Pokemon Go has in itself created a social network, and a community. Anywhere you go, folks will see you playing, and smile, or even give you hints to places they have found different Pokemon. Often times small kids with social anxiety have difficulty speaking, but can speak about video games. it opens up dialogue. A few doctors have taken to Pokemon Go for patients to help with Cognitive function. The game itself, while simple, has a complex understructure that creates for an in depth game. 
In regards to physical activity, the game makes you walk. At some pokestops you receive eggs. These eggs require walking to hatch. You cannot trick them , as speeds over a certain level no longer count for distance to hatch the egg. The eggs require 2, 5 or 10K distances to hatch. The distance is not required in one walk, but the sooner you hatch the egg after you get, the better it will benefit your current level. 
My kids have asked 4 times in the last week to go to the Halifax Waterfront ( A very busy pokeplace to be sure) and we have walked likely close to a combined 20 KM in those visits. 
The game has also sparked some great relationship building with my kids. Rarely do you find something that an 8, 11, and 40 yr old person can enjoy together. We have many things that we do together of course, but this lets us get out to explore (which we love to do) and catch Pokemon in the process. 
So to those who have all kinds of negative things to say about Pokemon Go, consider the good I’ve spoke of above. 
Give the game a try even. I know many who have never played Pokemon before who love the game… Maybe that could be you too.
Peace out PokeStars 

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About Anthony Arsenault

I was born on a cold October day in 1975. My love for words became apparent to my family at a young age, when I took to reading, and always had to have a book. This love for books continued on, and soon I was putting my own words to paper. I was always a fan of creative writing, and often impressed my grade school teachers with my fantastic stories. At the age of 15, I wrote a poem called "Abused" for a grade 9 poetry assignment. The power of the poem brought the administration of the school to class room with a barrage of questions. Four years later I entered a contest sponsored by the Canadian Chamber of Contemporary Poetry. Of thousands of contestants, i was in the top 200, and had my poem "Bob" published in their anthology “Scaling the Face of Reason". This was my first true accomplishment, and my first published work. Since then I have been writing, and Have had a few articles and a poem entitled " A Letter to my Unborn Child" published by Parents for Parents Magazine. I am still writing, and recently published my first e-book, The Common Man's Guide to Women as Told by the Common Man, and a book of poetry called "Words Flow Eternal"
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