Just when we thought we were done with ridiculous trends (ref: contouring, pumpkin spice latté and galaxy hair highlights), millennials got a new reason to ignore the world and stare at their phones – Pokémon Go. Now, society is divided into two lots – those who play the Nintendo reboot game and those fixated on the ongoing Taylor Swift-Calvin Harris feuding saga. In any case, we are going to delve a little deep into the gaming waters and weigh on whether Pokémon Go is worth the craze, if it’s doing good for our lives and how long this obsession may go on.
So, what is Pokémon Go, exactly?
Those alive in the 90s who owned a Gameboy were introduced to Japanese company, Nintendo’s world of Pokémon. It was a make-believe world where humans got to be “trainers”, find different characters across the game and make them fight each other. Being Japanese with all that “Kawaii” stuff going on, the characters are cartoons and cute AF. The empire of Pokémon is so large, that it has expanded to video games, playing cards, movies, series, merchandise and a lot more and grossed its company nearly $50 billion in revenue, and growing.
With the onset of gaming consoles and super hit video games like Counter Strike, Assassin’s Creed, etc. etc., the world of Pokémon went quiet for a while, but only just. Because Nintendo went ahead and developed a FREE downloadable phone app that is compatible with iOS and Android, and resurrected the life of Pikachu with a clever game called, yes, Pokémon Go. And now almost everyone is going bonkers because they “Gotta Catch ‘Em All!”
Once you download it, you are supposed to go through the motions of creating an avatar and catching these various creatures, gaining points on the way. Using the phone’s camera and GPS tracker, the gamer feels like there are creatures at real locations, at real-time. Characters exist based on the elements – you will be able to locate characters that are related to water near water bodies, grassy ones near gardens and so on and so forth. Seems pretty simple and decent, but since it hit markets, there have been upsides and downsides, and we list both.
The pros of Pokémon Go
- The medical community is happy because people are getting up and moving. The more you walk, the more characters you catch, eggs you hatch and so on and so forth. Since you sit on your behind and stare at your screen, you might as well do it on the move.
- Apparently, the game has made people more sociable. As you go on your way to catch more creatures, you meet other idiots who are doing the same thing. There are literally Pokéwalks happening in groups all over the world so people catch ’em all together.
- People are visiting places in their neighbourhood that they never would have before. Parks, ponds, religious places, monuments – hell, even graveyards, while playing the game. Maybe the tourism industry should pick up on this. Hmmm.
- There was a very public case of a woman who was playing the game and happened to catch her boyfriend cheating. Yikes. But yeah, let’s count this as a pro. For the woman, at least.
The cons of Pokémon Go
- Where do we begin? True, you may be walking and getting some much-needed exercise. But let’s be real – you’re staring at your phone the entire time, which means you’re really not noticing things around you – like oncoming traffic, passersby and aforementioned monuments and such.
- What are we doing? Seriously. Not to sound like a typical social activist, but there are way more important things going on in this world. Why can’t we develop a game that helps people march to their governments and demand justice for the stupid, outdated laws that still exist? Or blaze a trail all the way to Syria and other places where people are suffering as we speak and can’t catch a break, forget about catching a Pokémon!
- Data. If the previous two points didn’t catch your attention, this one should. You are technically opening up your private stuff to the world. Anyone can find you, stalk you, rob you and do god-knows-what, through the game. Every bit of information that you once felt was your own, is now available for some dude in Japan to view and do with it what he wants.
- With all the time you spend on Pokémon Go, your phone battery is dying a slow, overused death. The game doesn’t work if you’re screen isn’t lit and your internet isn’t ON. You can easily use all that juice for more better things. Like Instagram. And Snapchat. And juicy tabloid apps.
Though it’s really easy to get caught in the wave of a trend, ask yourself if it benefits you and if it works for your higher good. In any case, it looks like Pokémon Go is here to stay, at least until there’s another crazy trend that’s going to reduce our IQs a little more.