It’s been more than a little amusing to see the public bewildered by the sudden appearance of roaming packs of people ranging in age from 7 to 70+, all staring intently at their phones, at all hours of the day.
Pokémon GO, the new free-to-play mobile game which has smashed records since it’s release on July 6th, is based on the perennially popular Pokémon games from Nintendo. It was developed by Niantic and is very similar in format to their previous ARG, Ingress. Many of the Pokéstops in Pokémon GO were manually submitted by millions of users for Ingress capture nodes, re-purposed for the new game.
In this iteration of the game, the Pokémon appear superimposed in the real world via your smartphone’s camera. Players aim the Pokéball with a flick of their finger at a targeting circle around each Pokémon.
Pokéstops are found at small landmarks such as statues and fountains, dropping various goodies such as extra Pokéballs, potions, and eggs that can be hatched. Gyms are sites where public battles are waged between the three factions available to players.
Though it’s impossible to tell what kind of longevity the game will have so early into it’s release, people all over the country have been talking excitedly about being motivated to exercise for the first time in a long will. Particularly inspiring are the people sharing how it has helped them cope with depression or anxiety, getting out of the house and into the fresh air with other players.
While the game is fun and has fostered many positive interactions between people from a variety of ages and backgrounds, I do have to point out that a small percentage of people have been less than stellar ambassadors of this game. With that in mind:
- DO NOT PLAY WHILE DRIVING A CAR. NO IT DOESN’T MATTER HOW SLOWLY YOU DRIVE.
- Be respectful of private property, religious sites, and anywhere common sense tells you is an abysmally stupid place to play. Both the Arlington Cemetery and the Holocaust Museum have had to release public statements asking people to stop playing Pokémon GO at their sites.
- Do not ask children to lead you somewhere they caught a Pokémon; that’s a really good way to end up on the local news and possibly a government list. It’s best not to interact with children at all unless their parents are there.
- Pay attention to where you’re walking/stepping and be mindful of your surroundings.