If you haven’t heard, Pokemon Go came out late Thursday night. And in the 12 hours following, the game shot from nothing, to #1 in both the app stores in the United States.
This is entirely unsurprising given the hype this game has received.
Now I’m sure with the hype, some are probably worried that this means people aren’t going to talk to each other even more because they’ll be too busy on their phones.
Well, naysayers, I’ve got some news for you. This is probably one of the best apps for gamers, and anyone really.
If you’re like me, you grew up with Pokemon. It was a staple in my childhood, and has created a deep love of collecting, adventure, and community. Yes, community.
Pokemon has always been something to talk about with my friends and family. No matter the age, or starter, we’ve all been able to talk about our starters, our favorites, playing styles, and strategies for gyms. New games have always garnered more conversation. Although many of us don’t collect cards anymore, or watch the anime as much as we did the first few seasons (is Ash older than 10 yet?), Pokemon has been as important to us as Harry Potter.
For years the gaming community has been seen as antisocial. But maybe people aren’t aware of PAX West, East or South, or E3, or any number of large conventions based entirely around gaming.
Gamers are some of the most social people I know. And Pokemon Go just means we’re able to expand our community even more.
While walking around with my friends on our college campus that first night, we ran into one of the Public Safety officers. He just started playing. So we got to talking with him, shared our tips and tricks, and bid him farewell as he went about his rounds. Usually, PS just drives by us, and we wave if we know the officer (for those of us that are Resident Assistants). But it was so rewarding to be able to talk to him, and help along a burgeoning Pokemon trainer.
While driving through town – don’t worry I’m not playing at the same time, my passengers are – I can pick out the groups of people playing. They’re easy to figure out. And it makes me smile that there are so many people that are walking around in groups with their friends.
My Facebook feed has been full of people sharing their daily catches. And I’ve found several stories about the most unexpected people wandering around catching Pokemon because their grandchild wanted to play with them. It’s heartwarming.
Pokemon go isn’t only going to grow our community. Its going to save a lot of lives (and possibly endanger others because people aren’t paying attention!). There was one person on the Pokemon subreddit write about how the game was going to save his life. And there were many people that came to the agreement and support of this redditor.
This app is giving many people purpose again. For those that have deep anxiety about being outside around others, this app gives them something to do. And now they don’t have to feel like there isn’t a reason they are out and about.
Maybe it was always Game Freak & Pokemon creator Satoshi Tajiri‘s goal to get us outside again. His idea was based off of his love of bug collecting as a child.
Whether you’re a new trainer to Pokemon, or a veteran to the franchise, I’ll see you out there. Be sure to look up and say hello.