By Tim Kalinowski
I would like to take the time this week to say a few words in defense of Pokemon Go, the free app that is taking the world by storm. Now I am not a “Go-er” myself; nor do I have the app on my phone; nor do I really care about the difference between a “Drowzie” or a “Victory Bell.” I do know many people who have the app, however, and they seem to be deriving a great deal of pleasure from it.
But more importantly than the pleasure derived, in my opinion, is the exercise. These avid Pokemon Go-ers are out every night in Medicine Hat and walk for blocks and blocks hunting the augmented reality beasts of the mythical world of the Pokemon. Looking at many of these fearless hunters, let’s just say most do not seem the usual type who might just go out for a walk for the benefit of their health. The app and hunt has brought them out of doors and got them off the couch.
The second major benefit I see in the app is the fact that players are being guided toward real world locations in their own hometown, taking them into normally underused quarters where local history or public art have been placed to be forgotten. Learning more about your community and environment is always a great move, even it comes through the absurd forum of this type of gaming app.
And finally I would say the best intangible benefit of Pokemon Go is that it has given us something to talk about this summer other than the dog and pony show which has been the U.S. presidential election, the terrible attacks in Europe, or the public relations failure which has been the Rio Summer Olympics. Shirtless Justin Trudeau has barely even intruded on Canadians’ obsession with Pokemon Go, and that’s saying something.
I wonder who would win for attention between Trudeau and a rare Pokemon like a Charizard, for example? I can imagine the scenario. Shirtless Trudeau emerges from the wild woods looking all buff and manly and a Pokemon Go player runs up to him with a smart phone held up excitedly in hand. Trudeau says, (preening of course), “You want to take a selfie with me?” He flexes his chest muscles drawing attention to his six-pack abs. The Pokemon Go gamer looks up absently and says: “Oh hi, Justin. I didn’t notice you there. Can you step aside a little please? I am trying to capture a Charizard, and he’s right behind you!”
Whether a fad for the summer, or a long term engagement, Pokemon Go has some good points. Even if it’s just as a whipping post for good old boys like me.