How Pokemon Go improved every aspect of my life?
This may sound like a headline straight out of a Daily Mail story, but hear me out. I resisted the AR game for almost two years, but a month after signing up I discovered some unanticipated positive side effects. A word of caution, this (not entirely serious) blog post might make you sign up and spend the rest of your summer catching virtual creatures. Don’t think you’ll regret it though!
The Internet is full of stories of people whose love lives, careers or special occasions have been ruined by the Pokemon Go. Of course, like most things in life, games are plenty of fun if you know when to stop. But the positive effects of moderate gaming go far beyond a daily dose of entertainment and often go unnoted. So, if you are Pokemon Go curious, here are some reasons to give it a try:
In case you are not in the know, Pokemon Go is an augmented reality game that invites you to catch mythical creatures as you go about your day. This means you have to physically walk to the spot where the pokemon has sprung for a chance to catch it.
I enjoy walking, pokemon or not, but having a fun game to play gives me an extra reason to take a lunchtime stroll through the park. I started a 30-day step count streak the day I signed up to play, clocking an average of over 17k steps since. Pokemon Go suggest I walked at least 160km with the app running — that’s quite a hike!
I have always been a city dweller but last year I moved to live with my partner in a relatively small commuter town. As far as entertainment goes, we have a cinema, two gyms and a pretty nice park, but not much else. So populating the town streets with mythical creatures certainly made the place more attractive, but more importantly, playing Pokemon Go encouraged me to explore.
The game features PokeStops — spots to refit your bag with balls and potions — located at significant landmarks. These are probably my favourite game’s feature bridging the real and the virtual worlds. Finding a PokeStop (it’s optional, but I always try to locate it before spinning) makes you look up and look hard, and they really bring the surroundings to life. Hidden parks and squares, commemorative plaques, peculiar sculptures, ornaments and graffiti… all the things you walked past hundreds of times and never noticed until the game pointed them out. Did you know there is a tiny sculpture of an owl watching you being naughty at Waterloo? Go find it!
The game itself might well be virtual, but it’s played by real people. A lot of them. From weird encounters with lone rangers giving you a knowing nod when you pass each other on the street to group raids and community days that bring together hundreds of nerds, Pokemon Go rewards collaboration and is a fun way to meet new people.
This is where things go dramatic for many, but it ain’t have to be that way. I often play with my partner and grew to cherish our evening ritual of taking a long walk around town together, catching up on the day’s events and competing who catches a rare creature first.
As a designer, I love exploring how different games are designed and built. Pokemon Go is an excellent example of successfully bridging the real and the virtual worlds and enhancing both in the process, I look forward to seeing more of those in the years to come.
The game also features some brilliant character designs and animation, just take a look at these weird creatures!
Hope this light-hearted post inspires you to try something new this summer — happy catching!