I was pumped to see lot of geeks outside playing Pokemon Go today. Who knew that forcing us nerds outside — exercising — would be so successful?
For those of you who don’t know, Pokemon Go is an app. As you walk, when you walk past landmarks, parks, art, or points of interest, you can collect trinkets, animals (Pokemon), etc. Your phone buzzes, and you catch the Pokemon in real life. Certain areas are dense with Pokemon and drops, such as parks, cities, and college campuses. There are people catching Pokemon in hospitals, finding corpses, and committing crimes.
Here are the 3 best things about the game:
The game incentivizes exercise. I predict that people are going to lose a lot of weight playing this game. Walking and running can be sweaty and dull. It takes a long time to see results. But if you’re collecting things, you feel a sense of accomplishment. You’re triggering feel-good hormones in association with something you hated before. Just today, for example, I went on a 3-mile run to grab some trinkets, then walked with my husband around campus to get more. Then, after dinner, we had to walk to a park to experiment with another feature of the game.
The game puts you near other people. Video games typically happen in the privacy of the home — alone. This game’s nature involves leaving the house and going to hotspots where other people might be. This afternoon, my husband and I ran into tons of people playing the game. People were exchanging tips, instructions, and locations of different areas to catch certain Pokemon. Because everyone was playing the same game, there wasn’t that socially awkward “what should we talk about?” moment. There was at least one common denominator. Talking to new people felt easy.
The game helps you discover new features of your town. One of my friends stated that this game would revolutionize the public’s interaction with public art. It’s true: my husband and I have found new parks, sculptures, murals, and dedicated benches all over town. I’m not sure how they’re determined, exactly, but there are some awesome spots embedded in the game.
The game gets you out of the house. There’s a lot to be said for just leaving sometimes. Sunshine, fresh air, and exercise are all great for you; but sometimes one can’t be bothered. This game makes you bother, and, I suspect, will help people with agoraphobia get out of the house. It’s a project.
The game isn’t the solution to the world’s problems, but I do think that making dull things fun and rewarding is something that should be pursued further. Turning onerous tasks into games helps get them done.
I, for one, am exhausted. This Pokemaster is going to bed.