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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Cons and Pros of Pokemon Go

So, unless you've been living underneath a rock the last month or so, you have probably heard of (or maybe even play) the latest craze that has taken over the world.

I'm talking about Pokemon Go.

Now, Pokemon is a game series that for whatever reason never really appealed to me.  When the Pokemon craze first hit North America in the late 1990s, I was engrossed in the many "Final Fantasy" games that were available.  The seventh game in that series alone had enough replay value to keep me entertained for three whole years.

Though, I do admit that the goal of Pokemon is one that has challenged thousands of gamers all over this planet.  You have to find a way to catch every single species and evolutions of cute little pocket monsters so that you can have the bragging rights of catching them all.  It's kind of like how some role playing games have a Bestiary where you can keep track of all of the enemies that you slaughter in hopes that you can make the claim that you killed one of every single monster.  It's a goal that I've achieved 99% of in Final Fantasy IV...those damn Pink Puffs are the only thing keeping me from completion.  Oh, lord how I hate those Pink Puffs.

Oh, sorry...where was I?  Oh yeah...Pokemon Go. 

So, Pokemon Go basically takes the idea of going around the world to catch random Pokemon that appear to the next level.  Thanks to mobile phone technology and GPS devices, you can now go around your own neighbourhood and try and catch Pokemon in real time.  And Pokemon can appear anywhere there is a large crowd of people, or where there are public gatherings.

Case in workplace happens to be a hub for Pokemon spawning.  The shopping mall also boasts Pokemon - and not just in the pet store either!  Even the two parks that are near my home are known Pokemon gathering places. 

Thankfully, my home itself is Pokemon free.  Otherwise, I'd be spraying people with my garden hose.

Now, when it comes to Pokemon Go, it's divided people more than the 2016 Presidential Elections!  On one side, you have the people who love the game and would happily declare it to be the best invention since the microwave oven.  And on the other side, you have people who think it is a sin to play the game and that it is causing more harm than good.

To be honest, as someone who has not played the game and have no desire to, I can't say that I feel justified enough to give an opinion.  But what I can do is list the pros and cons from other people who have played the game, and let you decide on whether Pokemon Go is right for you and your family.  For positive points, I'll refer to them as "Pokemon Go!", and for negative points, I'll refer to them as "Pokemon No!".

So, right off the bat, let's start with one positive.

POKEMON GO! - It gets your kids out of the house!

You know, when I was a kid, summer meant that you spent most of your days outside.  I happened to be enrolled in a summer day camp where I played lots of sports and games.  I'm not saying that kids don't do that now, but with mobile phones, computers, and video games, there's not a whole lot of incentive for kids to get active outside.  So, I appreciate the fact that Pokemon Go allows kids to explore their neighbourhoods and try to catch Pokemon while getting some much needed fresh air and exercise.  So, definitely, the health benefits of Pokemon Go are good.

POKEMON NO! - Too much of a distraction!

Of course, the rules still apply to those who do venture outside.  Look both ways before crossing the street, follow road signs, etc, etc, etc.  And admittedly, if your gaze is on a 4 inch phone screen, you may find that it is hard to pay attention to your surroundings.  You might find it exciting to catch a Vulpix, a Squirtle, or a Jigglypuff, but don't risk getting run over by a taxi in order to get it.  You're playing Pokemon Go, not Crazy Taxi Go.  Just ask those two guys who actually fell off a cliff while Pokemon hunting!

POKEMON GO! - It's a good treatment for social anxiety disorder!

You know, as someone who suffered from social anxiety quite severely in his youth, I probably would have welcomed a game like this when I was eight or nine.  Truth be told, part of the reason why I never got into Pokemon was that I felt that I was too old for the target audience.  But I've heard lots of cases in which kids who have struggled to make friends have managed to meet new people while playing the game Pokemon Go.  It makes sense...if you have a shared interest, you tend to gravitate towards those people.  I've also heard that children who are autistic or who have Asperger's may benefit from playing this game as well in helping them better deal with social situations, which is definitely a major plus.

POKEMON NO! - It's a great way for you to become the victim of a crime!

You might think I'm joking, but sadly, I am not.  While these cases are very rare, there are some instances in which people have used the game to attack unsuspecting players and mug them of their possessions.  You don't want your quest to find a Pikachu to cost you your worldly possessions, do you?  Always make sure that you are aware of your surroundings when you play the game, and never go anywhere that is unfamiliar to you.  In fact, it might actually be better to play this game in a group of three or four.  Remember, there is safety in numbers.

POKEMON GO! - It allows you to get more familiar with your community!

Yes, I did mention that you probably shouldn't go venturing in places that you aren't familar with...however, that doesn't mean that you should just stay in your own little bubble either.  There are Pokemon scattered all over this planet - and many of them are found in safe spaces.  If you're with a group of people you trust, why not take the time to go around your town and find some new places to go to?  I've known people who have lived in my town longer than I have who still don't know where certain streets are or how to get to them.  The Pokemon Go app can certainly make you aware of where everything is.  I don't consider that to be a bad thing.

POKEMON NO! - You find Pokemon in some of the most depressing places!

I'm sure you've seen the photos of Pokemon hanging out around gravestones.  It seems as though there have been lots of sightings of Pokemon at cemeteries, memorials, and certain other places where it can seem very disrespectful to wander onto with a cell phone trying to hunt down your favourite Pokemon.  Granted, it is up to the caretakers and the owners of said cemeteries to handle trespassing issues, but still, common sense should tell you that walking through a graveyard in search of Pokemon is disturbing.  It has been reported that the company that released the game is working on trying to remove memorials as Pokemon gathering hubs, but no word yet on whether they have succeeded.

That's all that I can really think of for pros and cons.  As you can see, my list is evened up, which is what I had hoped for.  I didn't want to seem biased.

I guess the main points to take into account when playing Pokemon Go are this.

1.  Don't play Pokemon Go alone - especially if you're a child.  Make sure you always have someone with you when you're in an area you don't know.

2.  Don't venture onto other people's private property when playing the game.  You need to still show respect.

3.  Always watch where you are going.  You don't want to get hit by a bus trying to catch a Pikachu.

4.  If an area looks dangerous or sketchy, do not go there.  You can always find Pokemon elsewhere in safer areas.

For those of you who don't play the game, continue with what you were doing.  For those who do...have fun.  But do it safely!

1 comment:

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