How Pokémon Go Is Saving Us

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The internet is an emotionally charged place to be right now. With liberals fighting conservatives, moderates brandishing their opinions to everyone, -isms of all shapes, sizes, races, and religions separating and uniting people from coast to coast, and this new word “Brexit” ziplining across the ocean leaving the majority of American scratching their heads, the internet spews with opinions.

The pounding of keyboards could be heard echoing through business parks, dorm rooms, small towns, and booming metropolitans. Words seemed to have lost their weight in the heightened sadness, grief, and merited fed-up attitude of many Americans, and an unwavering feeling of “just stop!” has swept through streets.

Pokemon Go screenshot

Then, Pikachu showed up.

Yes, by now everyone knows what we are talking about- Pokémon Go. It’s a Nintendo game for smartphones that sends you around your city on the hunt to capture virtual Pokémon characters. The technology of the game is the first of its kind and will surely change the way we play and interact with computers and games forever.

The technology, however, is not what we are talking about.

I’m not afraid to admit that when this craze first took hold I scoffed, saying it was dumb, silly and just another excuse for people to keep their noses in their phones and miss human connection.  And I equally am not afraid to admit that I was wrong. Way wrong. I still think everyone looks silly and slightly inebriated walking around staring at made-up creatures through their phones, BUT they are doing it together!

In a time when neighbors don’t speak to neighbors because of their opposing two-pronged political sign adorning their lawns, this game has them sharing cups of sugar again, or at the very least, catching that pesky Rattata together.

Go outside to a local park after work, or even just down the street from your house, and you will see people, some shamelessly clad in their footsie pajamas, gathering around a utility unit looking through their smartphone screens all laughing and talking about their latest catch, the color of their team, or their childhood stories of playing Pokémon (back then it was a card game) in the school yard.

The nostalgia brought about from Pokémon Go is saving our society. Our memories spent playing as a kid, for the majority of us, was a time before social media and the term “viral” existed. There was no app-for-that, or an app for anything other than a snack before dinner! The most engaging game was often made up with neighborhood friends involving some kind of ball, or something that could act as a ball, maybe a toy with wheels, and probably one house that acted as “base.”

Times have changed, but the feeling has not. People are coming out of their houses, away from their game consoles, and chasing made-up virtual monsters throwing red balls at them. And just like the old times, just like the brilliant innocence of childhood, people are playing with each other without judgment and free of the compartmentalizing otherness felt on the internet.

So from one convert to any other skeptic, leave your keyboard behind and get outside! Pikachu is waiting!