In retrospect it’s not surprising that I’ve been sucked into a video game, because that happens all the time. But this one is something special. Not just because of what I take from it, but because of what I’ve seen it do to and for the people around me. It was also inevitable. As a long-time Pokemon player (it was my very first game for my very first handheld console), the dream to catch Pokemon in real life was always there, and now we have this — far, far sooner than I ever expected.
I’ve had it for about a week now, and I love it for a number of reasons. On the surface it’s pretty simple, and it’s a lot like Ingress, which I also enjoyed. But last night I went downtown where a bunch of people decided to get together and throw a Pokemon Go event. By “a bunch,” of course, I mean “about five thousand at least.” Every parking structure in the area was full, and there were so many people it was hard to get around. Bands were playing, people were handing out badges and water bottles, grouping up to help each other find Pokemon, etc. And everyone was so friendly. My friends and I met up with a couple hunting a Bulbasaur and we walked together for hours. And there were so many PokeStops I almost couldn’t get to them all before the first ones were refreshing again. Not to mention everyone had a lure.
And this wasn’t some event organized by the city or anything, it was just people going “Hey, you wanna get together here?” And they did, boy did they ever. I’ve never seen anything like this. The other day I took a walk at a nearby park and there were people everywhere there, too.
I’ve read stories from people who were motivated to get into shape, who are spending hours walking every day. I’ve seen stories from people with mental illnesses who are having a blast and finally having reasons to smile, and I think that’s amazing. For my part, I’m getting out and walking a lot more than I used to. I’ve only passed the 10km mark according to Go, but since I sometimes find it hard to even get out of bed sometimes (as a result of constant weakness from CFS), that’s pretty big.
It’s possible that this will be just a fad, but there are so many possibilities for this game. There are multiple generations of Pokemon to add, trading, battling, and all sorts of other stuff. I’m extremely excited to see where this goes. And with all the negative stuff that’s been going on in the world lately, I love seeing something that’s bringing so much unity and happiness to people all over the place, where the only cause for concern is server stability
and anyone from Valor. I can see myself playing this for a long time to come. I have plenty of eggs to hatch, anyway.
Also one of the big newspapers around here interviewed me for a story on Pokemon Go, and I can’t resist mentioning that just because it was exciting.