Tuesday, July 26, 2016

An outsider's look at Pokemon Go

Unless you count playing boardgames online, I'm not much of a video gamer. However, I did marry a video gamer, which helps round out our household nicely.

So I am actually aware of Pokemon Go. Otherwise, I would just think I was seeing a lot of people reading deeply meaningful texts all at the same time.

As a non-video gamer and a dad, I have a lot of appreciation for Nintendo. As a company, they seem to really encourage family friendly fun and activities, including encouraging kids to get some exercise. And they gave me Professor Layton. That's a franchise I can really sink my teeth into.

For everyone who is like me, Pokemon Go is a game that combines hunting and live trapping cute little monsters with GPS. You actually have to get out of the house and hunt the Pokemon down on foot. 

I've been calling it Pokemon the LARP.

I actually consider this to be pretty brilliant. I understand that the game eats battery power like it was going out of style and probably isn't that good for data plans. I know folks have wandered into bad neighborhoods looking for Pokemons and a Wyoming girl found a dead body (which sounds like the start of a weird crime drama - They collect Pokeman and Evidence!)

However, I like that it encourages kids to get off the couch, go outside and explore their environment, along with getting some exercise. Plus, the idea of creating a mashup of the real world and virtual reality is still new and exciting, even if other games like Ingress have already done it. 

The other night, I saw a group of people standing outside a closed library, staring at their phones. I wanted to pull over and ask them what faction they were in.

I don't know if Pokemon Go will be a two-week phenomena or a lasting game or a sign of games to come. If nothing else, it's a fascinating social experiment and an infesting idea for a game.

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