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pokemon go

By now you’ve surely heard of the latest craze sweeping the nation.  Pokémon Go has taken over.  Nick Roush documented the craze at SEC Media Days here.  People of all shapes, sizes, and colors have been huddling together in small groups with cell phones out looking for the creatures.  Even Tim Duncan’s retirement was influenced by Pokémon Go.  When asked why he was calling it quits now, Duncan reportedly replied “I’ve done everything in the NBA.  Now I want to catch ’em all.”  The part of the game which is getting the most attention is that it promotes being active by requiring players to physically go to locations to capture and manage Pokémon.

Pokémon Go is a location-based cell phone game based on the wildly popular regular Pokémon you already know about.  It’s like geocaching or  a scavenger hunt where the item you’re searching for is a character from the Pokémon universe.  Thanks to GPS and smart phones, the Pokémon Go app maps out wherever you are and as you move through the world you discover Pokémon living right in your neighborhood or town.  When you come across the Pokémon you simply flick your phone to toss a Poké Ball and capture it.  The big deal is that there are 151 different Pokémon and like the Big Fundamental, you gotta catch ’em all.

Now, the game doesn’t end once you capture the Pokémon; rather, that’s when it begins.  After you’ve roamed the world, capturing these creatures like a 17th century British imperialist, you must train and evolve your Pokémon.  To do this you have to take your Pokémon to a gym, which you can find on your GPS map.  Once your Pokémon has been trained and evolved (Pokémon slang for upgraded) they become stronger and you can battle in the gym against other Pokémon.

During this whole time of collecting and training, the player is moving around the great outdoors. Get a group of Pokémon-playing friends together and head out for some searching.  You know, taking the dog or kids for a walk is a lot more fun when you’re searching for Pokémon. Dread going on that run?  Why not make a game of it and chase some Pokémon while chasing your dreams. My Fitbit stats have seen a marked improvement since the game’s release.  Of course, searching for Pokémon isn’t always a good time.  As with any hunt, maybe you aren’t finding the Pokémon you’re looking for.  Perhaps the game is getting in the way of your job or school.  Maybe this is your Facebook status.

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There are definitely some ways the game can improve.  Pokémon Go is still kind of a bare bones game.  The battle system has some room for growth and the ability to link up with friends on the game itself would be nice too.  There have also been some buggy issues with the app, but that’s to be expected with a new game.

Overall my experience has been very positive.  I wasn’t a Pokémon fan until this game came out.  Despite having no real understanding of the Pokémon universe outside what I’ve absorbed through my friends’ experiences, I did not feel the game was exclusive.  In fact I was really surprised at how easy it was to pick up.  Perhaps the best part of the game is how inclusive it actually is.  There’s just something nice about seeing groups of people positively interacting with each other.  Whether it’s a group of friends or just random strangers who showed up at the same place looking for a Pokémon, Pokémon Go may just be the healing salve people need these days.  Then again, this could just be a big government conspiracy to track everybody.   ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Article written by Josh Juckett