Wednesday, July 13, 2016
A walk with Pokémon Go
In the light of the new Pokémon Go game and after reading a few posts I thought I may be one of the few people to be playing it in our class and therefore thought I’d write a post on how it’s affected walking, both my own as well as others that I see and know.
Simply put Pokémon Go is a game on your phone that is connected to the GPS server of your phone that allows you to walk around the world and randomly find monsters or “Pokémon” (which in itself is a contraction of Pocket Monster) to collect and assumedly later battle other players. Having grown up in the mid to late 1990’s, the return of Pokémon was immediately well received by myself as well as many of my generation.
Typically I walk around the Stones River National Battlefield without any media. I enjoy the sights and sounds as well as the serenity of the forest. However, my addiction to Pokémon Go caused me to scour the woods for Pokémon. My daily walks through the forest was not spent taking in any sights or sounds, but in the hunt for a rare Scyther. My calm serenity that often come after a walk was replaced only by need for more Pokémon. Often while following the GPS on my phone the Pokémon were in the deep woods off the trail or worse in areas that are restricted because they are native plant reserves. I had the good sense not to venture into these places for virtual animals, but I know many people who would not have thought twice about it.
Pokémon GO has definitely increased the amount of people walking, however it has not affected the amount of people going for a walk. Which I have come to recognize are two entirely different activities. While walking you are simply enjoying the walk, nothing more. In Pokémon Go you’re motion is entirely based on playing the game. Proof of this is increase of car wrecks from people trying to drive and play the game simultaneously.
For me I will continue to go on my morning walks unimpaired by media devices. In fact I have begun leaving my phone at home just to ensure I don’t answer calls or catch Pokémon. I do enjoy the game though and play it often, I just don’t feel that it mixes with the experience of going for a walk. Instead we are just left with walking while staring at our phones, which isn’t really much different than before the game came out.