After three weeks of relentlessly abstaining from the new craze that has swept the globe off its couches and into the streets, I have to admit – I went to my app store on my iPhone, searched ‘Pokemon Go’ and hit that little button that I now can never un-hit… thats right, the [GET] button. In self-denial, I first saw this as a way to get me and my eldest son (3 1/2 years old) to do something together that was fun… until I soon came to my senses and realised what I was doing. I was finding some legitimate way (at least in my eyes) to experience what has become a multibillion dollar phenomena. And so, I did.
For those who don’t know – the main objective is to capture, train and eventually battle these creatures (Pokémon) and your title as a “trainer” allows you to do so. There are gyms located all over cities where you are able to battle your Pokémon against computers, which if you are successful can be quite rewarding allowing you to ascend to higher levels in the game, as well as acquiring virtual money and other items you may need for you and your Pokémon to become powerful. You also have pick-up spots called a POKÉSTOP where you can visit multiple times to receive an array of items used to capture, train, lure and heal your Pokémon. And that isn’t even the half of what is becoming a very intricate and high-committal form of entertainment.
My first thought is that its fun, easy to use and the real world applications actually make you excited to walk out into your own back yard again. The adventure isn’t limited to your backyard though – if you are a user I am sure you have found yourself walking, skating, skooting and even driving to various locations to attain these little creatures. But the more I let the thought of the game and all its elements rest in my mind, the more I have to ask the question of whether or not this game does more damage than good. So before I play this game again I am writing the pros and cons down to assess (and hopefully identify) if this is something that will enhance or bring joy to my life or not.
– It is Immediately likeable and user friendly.
– The graphics are top notch for a smartphone software game.
– The use of GPS and real world exploration is unmatched (at least in the mainstream)
– Seeing people actually getting out more and walking around neighbourhoods and cities.
– The objective and programming alone is standout but partnering it with the Pokémon world is genius.
– It has created a new community of people the never existed before allowing for more engagement and endless opportunity for connection.
– There have been allegations addressing its “unsafe nature”. Car accidents, pedestrian accidents, the use of the game to lure and take advantage of children.
– There is definitely an addictive nature to the game (talking from experience).
– This may seem pitiful but the NEARBY function is very difficult to use if you know how to use it at all!
– The in-app purchases seem way too expensive to justify spending any money in the game unless you suffer from the second point in this section.
– Without spending any money on the in-app purchases it is very difficult to get ahead in the game.
– But most importantly it possibly reflects and is indicative of the uglier side of society – more power, more stuff, more money and outdoing my neighbour.
I am sure both lists have 100 more points that could be added to them, but those were some that came to me quite easily. In summary – joining the other like-minded Christians who have tested the Pokémon waters, I have to say that the cons heavily outweigh the pros and so I am retiring my “trainer’ uniform and deleting this app from my phone, once and for all… Just as soon as I find me a Pikachu, that is…