Monday, July 11, 2016
On the (Pokemon) Go
Several years ago, Pokemon came out with a little pedometer that went with one of it's games ... but that didn't get people moving that way the newly released Pokemon Go app has! This game is the latest craze and it's taking the world by storm!
With five boys, we've been a Pokemon family for years. I've watched the cartoons, I know the songs, we have a gazillion cards, action figures and stuffed critters. We have all the gameboy games, and their guidebooks. As the boys got older and their interest faded, most of the Pokemon got packed away in a rubbermaid tote. I've pulled it out a few times when family has visited, as my young nephews have just discovered the critters.
But a few days ago ... Pokemon Go was released in the U.S. My 17-year (and all his friends) set up trainer accounts and started catching Pokemon. He's gone a bit Pokemon crazy! Of course, my younger son (#4) was interested, so I set up an account on the family phone (as he only has an ipod, and you need cell service for the GPS to work on the go) for him to use. He's a bit of a homebody like me, so often when Dad would head out here or there, he wouldn't want to go ... I'm thinking that may change now! Not that this particular child needs any exercise incentive (his Fitbit does that, he gets in plenty of steps!) this might help get him out of the house.
On a completely irrelevant side note, we've been raising ducks this year. Our mallard (hatched from an egg) and then an adopted brood of black-mallard mutations, to keep him company. This past week, the ducks have been testing out their flight feathers. Flying across the yard ... a couple of times into the neighbors (but then back into our backyard). This morning, two of them were gone, gone. We have a canal fairly close by, so I asked #4 if he wanted to take a walk (just to see if that's where they ended up ... they should be capable of surviving in the wild, I'd just love to still keep an eye on them).
While I was looking for actual creatures (our duckies) on our walk ... my son had the phone, looking for imaginary ones. It is interesting to see how they have re-created the actual environment. You can see the sidewalks, cartoon style there on the phone. In the bottom corner, it will show if there are any wild Pokemon around. One footprint means they are quite close, two ... a little further, three footprints, further still. It's a little like the hot/cold game. You're getting closer ... or not. Then, if there is one right in front of you, throw a pokeball and attempt to catch it and add it to your collection!
I guess various public places (parks, stores, churches) are "Poke-Stops" or "Gyms" and by visiting these locations you can get goodies, battle your Pokemon, and more. My 17-year old said the nearby shopping center is filled with fun places (and that is where he and his friends have been hanging out after work). I'm sure some stores love the app, as it brings people in. Others ... not so crazy about it. I read about a police station, listed as a poke-stop now has a sign up saying "you do NOT have to come inside to earn Poke-Go points, please check in from outside" or something like that!
There have been negative situations hit the news ... a child tracking a Pokemon, stumbling upon a dead body. Kids paying too much attention to their phone, so they stumble and are injured in the real world. Thieves waiting for unsuspecting Pokemon fans in secluded spots. People who think kids are already paying too much attention to their phones instead of the world around them.
On the other hand, it's receiving praise for getting gamers off the couch and moving. In addition to going around to different spots, players have to walk to get their eggs to hatch (this is tracked via GPS, not a pedometer, so a treadmill won't work). The GPS can tell when people are in the car (moving at a faster speed) so that doesn't count toward egg activity, and hopefully the game doesn't work while driving (a car accident caused by the game has already made the news though).
Today, as I left Zumba class (held at a local church building), there was a teen-aged boy on a hoverboard, phone in hand ... I didn't ask, but I'm sure he was checking in with his Pokemon Go. As I backed out and went to leave the lot, another car full of teens ... on phones, pulled up to the church. Pokemon Go!
Who knows ... maybe my 12-year old will want to come to Zumba with me, just to check in at the church. We'll see. While my kids haven't expressed an interest in their old cards and figures, they HAVE pulled out the old gameboy games and guidebooks. It's a complete Poke-comback!
( see my Achievemint Update ... Update for details on this program).