3 Reasons Pokémon Go May Save Us All

Even people living under rocks have heard of Pokémon Go by now. In fact, they’re probably under that rock looking for a Geodude Pokémon. I downloaded Pokémon Go a couple of days ago, and despite being red as a lobster after a weekend camping trip, I spent three hours outside yesterday trying to catch them all. Outside! Pokémon Go, in short, uses augmented reality to bring the beloved Pokémon of many childhoods into the real world. As you move around in the world, your avatar moves. If you want to catch them all, you have to get off your butt and explore. Furthermore, the game has turned many a strangers into friends sharing a common bond. Here’s three reasons Pokémon Go may save us all.

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Related: Pokémon Go Captures Users and Headlines

1. Pokémon Go Is Bringing People Together

Anything new is going to have its positives and negatives. The negative being when armed robbers used the game as an opportunity. But those occasions are few and big crowds of strangers gathering around Poke Stops with Lures (a Pokémon Go item that draws Pokémon near) are many. This article from Inverse shows picture after picture of strangers coming together. The article also borrows an experience from Reddit:

“I was eating breakfast peacefully in an A&W this morning checking to see if there were any Pokémon around and some random dude came up to me to start talking about the game. He and his girlfriend just sat down at my table and that’s how I made two new friends. I saw like three people just today catching Pokémon in the street and it’s barely 12:30.”

I also find that when I’m out and about catching Pokémon, if I see other people walking and staring at their phone, I automatically assume they’re playing Pokémon Go too. And for a minute, whether we speak or not, we’re sharing a common bond. That’s a powerful notion considering all the divisive issues in the world at the moment.

2. You Have to Move to Play...also known as Exercise

There’s a new common phrase in the workplace that says, “sitting is the new smoking.” Yet there’s not a whole lot we can with this information. The study says you shouldn’t sit for more than six hours a day—like many people, I work an eight hour day at a computer, in front of a screen. The one thing we can do (other than quitting our jobs, of course) is to add some extra walking into that day. Not just walk-your-dog walking or going-to-the-local-coffee-shop walking—I’m talking miles and miles of walking.

Enter Pokémon Go. In the game, you also collect eggs, which after you walk a certain distance, will hatch. Of course you can try to get around this by biking or driving, but if you go too quickly the app won’t count that mileage. The entire premise of Pokémon Go requires you venture out into the world. It also requires that you stray from the beaten path. In order to find all the awesome Pokémon you have to wonder away from the street and into the tall grass or down the alleyways. Thus, not only do you get exercise but you also go on adventures and see parts of your own city you probably haven’t explored before.

new reasons to explore Westeros

3. It’s Helping People with Mental Illness 

Not everyone will understand how monumental this is, and that’s okay, but a game that helps those with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, etc. leave their houses to explore the world and make friends with strangers is a huge accomplishment for a game. When you have a mental illness, as I do, everyone is always telling you how exercise will help. But there’s a gap between what you should do and what you can do, and somehow, Pokémon Go bridges this gap. It gives us something to focus on and connect to while we’re out and about. Heck, it gives us a reason to go out and about. The health benefits of which are a much needed byproduct.

Are you catching them all? What's the best Pokémon you've caught or hatched so far? 

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Conner Carey's picture

Conner Carey's writing can be found at conpoet.com. She is currently writing a book, creating lots of content, and writing poetry via @conpoet on Instagram. She lives in an RV full-time with her mom, Jan and dog, Jodi as they slow-travel around the country.