By Derek Bastien
Pokémon Go Takes the World by Storm
Unless you live under a rock, you have by now heard of the phenomenon that is taken over the world: Pokémon Go. It has been a sensation, but why? Why are all these damn kids running around with their heads buried in their phones, you might ask?
Well, if you are a skeptic, here are 8 precise reasons why I think Pokémon Go is not only amazing, but good for society.
1. It gets people moving.
A non-fitness app has successfully gotten people outside, which is incredible. Because Pokémon Go occurs in the real world, you have to walk around your city and landmarks to get to Pokéstops, catch Pokémon, battle at Gyms, and even hatch eggs.
2. Hello, Childhood nostalgia.
There is a reason that everyone in their 20s is all about Pokémon. We grew up on it. I had Red, Yellow, and Blue on the original gameboy, and I very clearly remember getting my Gameboy Color and Pokémon Silver during Christmas, 2000.
It's childhood all over again, and it not only reminds us all of a simpler time but reintroduces the wonderful world of Pokémon to a new generation of "kids."
3. It brings people together in a huge way.
The popularity is mind-blowing. One of my best friends recounted a story to me about how in Jacksonville there had been hundreds of young adults at the mall after it was closed because it was a gym, and people had laid incense (Pokémon lures).
I'll admit, I thought he was exaggerating. And then this past weekend, Charlotte resident Paul Manabat organized a casual Pokémon meetup, which was attended by over 1,000 people. What??
And then...I see this flyer on Facebook and I thought it was a joke. It's not. Ladies and Gentleman, if you want to Pokémon hard this weekend, you have two very large and lovely options:
- A very real Pokémon Go Party at Label on Saturday night
- A Freedom Park Pokémon Go Meetup that already has over 1,000 people interested or going
There's even a Pokémon Go Bar Crawl on Friday, August 12th. This is crazy.
4. It gets you to actually explore your city’s landmarks
When I first downloaded the app, I was really blown away by this aspect. All of the Pokéstops and gyms are designated around real landmarks of the city. Some of them are well-known, and some of them are not.
So even while playing a video game, you are legitimately exploring new parts of the city and appreciating different landmarks. That is damn cool.
5. It’s the first popular augmented reality game, which is neato.
While there have been other augmented reality games, Pokémon Go is the first one to truly bring it to the masses. This is a big deal for the advancement of not only gaming in general, but also a step forward towards augmented reality assisting us in our day-to-day lives.
6. It’s hella cool
I caught a Venonat in my apartment the other day. A real Pokémon in my apartment, people!! I'm sorry, but that is the coolest stuff since I caught a Mew in Pokémon Red in 1999.
Not only did I add a Pokémon to my Pokédex, but I also got rid of a bug in my apartment, and I hate bugs ("Ewww. Bugs." -me, on many occasions).
7. Everyone is doing it.
I realize this is the same rationale some people use for doing drugs or making other questionable decisions, but taking part in a fad is fun. Someone recently told me they believe Pokémon Go is going to be a short-lived fad that will be gone as quick as it came.
While that may very well become true, riding the wave is fun. I still have my Yo-Yo from 1998, son! Also...Pokémon was a fad in the late 90s, and it's back, stronger than ever. So...yeah.
8. Ultimately, it creates community
Despite some of the criticism, this is ultimately the number one reason why Pokémon Go is good for society. It mobilized an entire generation (extremely quickly) to go outside, explore their surroundings, and hang out with each other in person.
Granted, we're all hanging out with our heads buried in our phones...but baby steps, people. The Romare Bearden Park meetup last weekend and the Freedom Park Meetup this weekend are a testament that Pokémon is bringing people together.
There's even a closed Charlotte Pokemon Go Group on Facebook, which is simply another manifestation of creating a community of people: in this case a community of people dedicated to being the very best.
9. (Bonus Reason) It teaches people to strive for excellence.
I would like to just end with an excerpt from possibly the greatest song of all time:
I wanna be the very best
Like no one ever was
To catch them is my real test
To train them is my cause
I will travel across the land
Searching far and wide
Teach pokemon to understand
The power that's inside
Derek Bastien | email@example.com
Chief Business Development Officer for EatWorkPlay, freestyle rapper, expert jokester, and professional socializer.