All over the weekend, there have been some truly amazing stories about Pokémon GO, the latest craze to sweep the world. Yes, I am aware that many of you are fed up with the amount of stories about it that plague your news feeds, but if you gave it a GO yourself, you may discover the joy in it!
On Sunday afternoon, my girlfriend and I ventured out for our first time to catch some Pokémon. We managed to catch a few of the more common critters, namely Rattata, Pidgey and a Weedle to name a few. After an hour of walking around the place, we settled back down again at home to watch some Game of Thrones. As you do.
After two episodes of that, I was excited by the prospect of sneaking out again for another quick adventure, planning another route to walk around and see what else we could find. By the end of that stretch, our legs were tired (we’re not the most active strollers!) so we called it a day for our Saturday adventures.
On Monday, we had breakfast, and headed out again, this time planning a longer route, all around the local town. However, due to the nature of the map, if I was to draw a map of the route we took, it would look like a child’s attempt at tracing a picture. We were all over the place.
My favourite aspect of it all was how every time we came across a group of people, or a couple, or a person walking their dog with a phone in their hand, I would pass a remark to my girlfriend saying “I wonder if they’re looking for the same Pokémon we’re currently looking for”. She would answer with ‘shut up’, along with an excited giggle. This happened a few times on both days.
I became the opposite of paranoid. I felt like everyone nearby was also on the hunt. Pokémon GO is not officially available in Ireland yet, but on the internet, you can find ways of downloading it, which we did. I’m sure others have done so too, and news of its availability can spread quickly via Facebook and other social networks.
I felt like the whole world was turning into Pokémon trainers and collectors, and everywhere I looked, I imagined that the couple down the street just ahead of us, or the collective of kids sitting in a circle in the park, were all collecting and discussing Pokémon. It was glorious! I haven’t been this excited about Pokémon since I owned the Blue version on my Gameboy Colour back in 1997!
There are countless tales about the game and where it has taken people. There are talks about its dangers too, and how some people are walking around, almost zombified, not paying attention to traffic when crossing the roads while their eyes are buried into their screens. Yesterday, my missus stepped into a puddle, and I could see it about it happen, but I said nothing. We both laughed at it, but I made the point of ‘watch where you’re walking!’ At least it wasn’t a moving car she stepped in front of!
Pokémon GO is only going to get bigger, I feel. Nintendo shares have shot through the roof in the past few days, and the game isn’t even fully available in most locations! While fans argue that there’s no PvP battle modes that makes Pokémon what it is, just consider what it’s already doing to the public right now.
It’s getting gamers and Pokémon fans up off their asses, and out in the fresh air. It has us exploring parts of our towns we’d rarely visit, and it has us all talking about our favourite little monsters all over again. It’s great for the fans, it’s great for parents with their kids, and the app is only going to grow even further. This is an amazing experience and I’m glad to be alive to witness it!