What’s your APPtitude? The phenomenon of Pokémon Go
By Amanda Merriman
I downloaded Pokémon Go to experience what has been occupying the rest of the world recently. Pokémon Go, a game by Niantic, is the latest app to go viral. It is actually projected to surpass Twitter in daily active users if it continues being downloaded at its current rate. Mobile users are spending more time interacting with this game than they are on Facebook and Snapchat. Readers will likely have seen many news stories about Pokémon Go or have come across Facebook posts about where their friends are capturing Pokémon.
Here’s a small bit of history for the non-Millennial generation readers. Pokémon, (short for pocket monsters) was first created in the 1990s. The object of the game was to prove your Pokémon training prowess by capturing Pokémon creatures and battling other Pokémon. You may remember something about the Pokémon craze back when the news was full of stories of schools banning the trade of Pokémon cards on school property.
Pokémon Go has taken some of the tenets of the original game and morphed it into the real world – users have to be out in public places to find and capture Pokémon. There are also “PokeStops” and “Gyms” at major landmarks where users can check in and get goodies or battle other players.
As I walked around my neighborhood and captured my first few Pokémon, I could see the pros and cons of Pokémon Go. This game will get you out in the real world. It is admittedly really fun discovering the Pokémon around me. I believe it also plays on the inner hoarder lurking in all of us. Additionally, I could agree with the reports out there saying that the app can help those with depression and anxiety, as the purpose of Pokémon Go is to get out and about. There’s a bit of nostalgia, too. Although I am not a Millennial, I do remember Pokémon. However, as with cell phones and their apps in general, it is apparent that if users are not paying attention to their surroundings there are potential safety issues. There have been unfortunate instances reported already. There is also some controversy about potentially inappropriate/culturally insensitive locations of Pokestops or Gyms.
After considering the pros and cons, if you are thinking of delving into Niantic’s gigantic “alternate reality” world of Pokémon Go, you are not alone. There are plenty of tips online to help you get your feet wet. Castle Pines even has a Google maps marker for Elk Ridge Park as a popular place to hunt for Pokémon. While you explore this new app, oh the places you’ll go! Be sure to take time and appreciate your surroundings as well.