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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Could "Pokémon GO" bring World Peace?


The "Pokémon Go" phenomenon is something you must try but only after taking-in its 9 safety tips and warnings. With its first launch in the U.S.A in July, then hitting Europe, Australia, Russia, South America and so on, it has logged over 100 million downloads. The infectious reaction to the game has changed the tone of our social responses in several unexpected ways.


Granted, there have been some serious mishaps and G.P.S issues but.....for the massive participation the amount of good taking place  says something huge about this medium. Sociologically speaking, societal barriers are literally melting away everywhere and no politicians are in sight!  A soft tone of engagement encircles neighborhoods, cities and people from all backgrounds. Helping and collaborating without stress toward unified goals is something every government and social institution aims to do but few have done it in such a poetic way. In "Pokémon Go" large numbers of strangers from all walks of life are caring about each other and are thrilled to do so! Face it, Pikachu has us smiling!  It seems this game has proven, without even trying, that digital engagement can be leveraged to unite people and calm tensions on a massive scale.


I am a mom who interacts regularly with teens and kids of all ages and I have seen a good amount of games come and go but this one accomplishes a dynamic that amazes me. I was a "Minecraft" mom too, as some games  definitely "switch-on" neurological and educational pathways that can be easily harnessed for learning. Games encourage mastery and creative processes that even corporate pay raises can't seem to match or incentivize in this strange way. 


That being the case, gaming, has a place in our world and can be utilized for resounding results. Why can't we see this? Perhaps, we are too busy taking it away from our kids to see its revolutionary possibilities. Understanding the energy that is found in gaming allows us to manage it for human potentials. Nintendo and Niantic have developed something unexpected with "Pokémon GO"... a kind connection among people.


But is this even important? Is a kind connection among people important?...In a society that slices us along every competitive and statistical measure, you bet it is!


However, like any new platform the game is not without some detractions. I am referring to some of the  G.P.S. locations like playing "Pokémon GO" in the Auschwitz Memorial in Germany.  Catching Pokémon in sacred areas distracts us from the critical lessons offered in these revered locations. Other Pokémon GO hazards report   a need to patch and carefully coordinate locations with regional crime statistics.  Sending kids into the streets in Venezuela where crime levels are soaring must be better managed. And most recently, a few teenagers in Missouri lured some kids over by pretending to play the game and then robbed their phones. Another incident mistook a home for a landmark and brought 15 people up to private property. 


On the bright side, "Pokémon GO" tags PokeStops on special landmarks and town sculptures that most of us would drive right past or might never know exist. It does seem that Nintendo and Niantic are trying to spotlight the good and eliminate the bad by revising locations and issuing better warnings. But still I urge all trainers to read the 9 warnings smartly posted in Japan about the game before playing and commit  to following these for safe and fun game play. (Google Japan's 9 warnings) 


In the weeks that I have been playing this game it is easy to see why everyone is absolutely crazy for it. First, it is free! Second, its intended campaign brings people out for fresh air and soft exercise. Third, it is not difficult to understand and blends interesting parts of our real world with fictional play. But more than that, I have seen some unbelievable changes in our local attitude.  The diversity of the players is amazing and extends all around bringing people outside, jogging, strolling, engaging in enjoyable conversations, giggling and laughing together. All of this is occurring in a non-violent and non-competitive venue. It is all very peaceful and socially relaxed. Some one will say, "Did you see that Arcanine? Did you get him?" Status and class barriers are diffused as players unite to help and enjoy each other. Like a grand dinner party, concert hall or picnic without the need for tickets or invitations. And lets not forget all the cardio by walking to a virtual gym for all the same results you might get at a real gym only without the expensive membership! One of the kids exclaimed, " Michelle Obama tried to get kids outside for eight years Nintendo did it in a day!"


Last night, we sat in our car next to the waterfront catching salty breezes, Magikarp, Seels, Drowzees and oh my gosh... a Dragonite! Several groups of pokemon seekers strolled by and said "good luck!" Families set up blankets and unpacked bags of snacks and drinks talking to each other while sharing a phone. The police drove through to check on a crowd of about 190 people only to find one of the most self-controlled and peaceful situations I have ever seen. They stopped and shared a tip about an Omanyte being found a half a block up. Our sense of community is changing in unexpected ways. With an 86 on cultural divides and stresses a new feeling of social serenity emerges along with endorphins from walking. "Pokémon GO" is onto something! 

  Please share your experiences with this new game in the comments section.

6 comments:

  1. Love love love this!

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  2. Thank you so very much for appreciating the article and for stopping by! Please let us know what you have experienced while playing this new game! Have fun and be safe!

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  3. You are absolutely correct. It is such a shame that modern media and news outlets portray this game as nothing more than a distraction and troublemaker rather than the revolutionary innovation in gaming, community, and exercise as a whole that it is. Seems only the people who actually play the game see it for what it truly is.

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    1. Wow! I really appreciate your kind thoughts and the player's perspective on this. Sometimes we must step out and take a deeper look at the benefits of gaming rather than clumping it all together. And yes, an outlet for artistry, inspiration, education, coordination, and frustration can be found in various games!

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  4. I've only read the first part of this Post, And I already see a lot of things that stand out to Me. It does unit people. surprisingly. Honestly, I thought Nintendo And Niantic Just wanted to make a Game that took people outside and exercise. It is fun, Or it can be aggravating. I know they're trying their hardest to make this Game more Fun, but we will just have to wait for now. and with the Pokémon GO Plus, We can see they are trying to kick up the pace of the game currently. Yes, I will admit it, If they cannot release Legendaries, or, Generation 2 soon, The Pokémon GO Community will slowly die. there may be a lot of Pocket Monsters Out there, but do you want to Catch 'em all, all over again? I still moderately enjoy this app, but, seeing the same thing over and over, doesn't really surprise you. except of course if it's something you absolutely NEED. I still hope they can move this game forward in some way. but until then, enjoy catching Psyducks.

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    1. I relish hearing about the gamer's experience and what makes a game fun, inspiring or aggravating! Thank you for your great review of Pokémon Go and what this company needs to do to keep the game fresh. I agree, it is a great time to add Generation 2 or some rare Legendary finds like Mew! I can't wait for the next twist!

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