As a 25-year-old woman, I'm proud to admit that in addition to my real job, I'm also a Pokémon Trainer. I grew up surrounded by friends and family who loved Pokémon; by association I did, too. Growing up, I rebelled against being called "Ash" as a nickname, as Pokémon had forever made it a "boy name." Now here I am, playing Pokémon Go and proudly using the username "RealAsh91."
What's so addictive about this new game? Maybe it's that it tracks players using GPS and places catchable Pokémon characters in real-world places. Or maybe it's that Pokémon Go isn't a game you can play sitting in one place. It requires players to walk around areas to "hunt" Pokémon.
No matter the reason, it's become so popular, everyone has heard of Pokémon Go by now. It's the closest we've come to virtual reality, and it feeds players' desire to connect with their community in a unique (and, yes, addictive) way. And I'm not the only one addicted! In fact, Pokémon Go already has as many Daily Active Users as Twitter—and the number of Pokémon Go users is still increasing!
A big part of the game is the "Pokéstops," which motivate players to hunt Pokémon together by visiting real-world places such as restaurants, landmarks, historical sites, zoos, et cetera. This means the more populated the area, the better chance you have to catch Pokémon. The more Pokéstops you visit, the more Pokécoins you can gather to continue playing the game free.
Pokémon Go is also a great date activity. Not only is Pokémon Go an opportunity to explore your local area with your significant other, but it also allows you to be active and to have a fun, flirty competition with one another. There's just something electrifying about catching a Pokémon before your date does!
Local businesses are also capitalizing on the game's popularity. Brick & Porter offered deals for Pokémon trainers in downtown Grand Rapids last Thursday, July 14. Brick & Porter bartenders Brooke and Kayla have noticed an increase in traffic due to the game. Brooke is part of Team Valor (the red team) on the Pokémon Go app, hence the discount prejudice last week (see photo below). Downtown Grand Rapids gets extremely busy at night—especially Rosa Parks Circle, full of Pokémon trainers trying to "catch'em all."
Countless 20-somethings are also using Pokémon Go as a way to work out. Aside from the basic hunting and exploring, the app requires you to walk certain distances (2km, 5km and 10km) to hatch your Pokémon eggs! Apps such as Charity Miles have started promoting the simultaneous use of Pokémon Go with the app as a way to give back to the community. Charity Miles counts steps and donates money based on how far you walk, which you can do as you catch Pokémon. Animal shelters are also asking for people to walk their dogs, while they play the app!
Many non-Pokémon Go players seem skeptical of the app and its impact on society. But Pokémon Go has reshaped how millions are using technology. The world today needs a little more "positive," and Pokémon Go has helped contribute to that. Pokémon Go has inspired people to connect with others, explore their local areas and businesses, be more active and even donate to charity.
Written by Ashley Micallef, Media Sales & Services Ccordinator for West Michigan Woman, aka RealAsh91.