Get moving with Pokemon Go!
Gotta catch 'em all... out of the house
I can probably count on one hand the number of times my daughter played outside after she turned about 10. Worried about the effects of a stationary life, but hoping to encourage her interest in computer technology, we invested in a number of games and consoles that promised to get our kid moving.
Games for the Wii like Just Dance and Carnival Games were fun and successful for a while, until she realized she could beat me while staying seated and swinging her arm just a little. But neither of those games encouraged leaving the comfort of home.
But last week, Nintendo changed all that with the introduction of Pokemon Go!
In my backyard
What is Pokemon Go?
Pokemon Go is a free downloadable game available in the app store. It uses augmented reality technology to project Pokemon in all sorts of places, even around your house. The game allows you to catch these Pokemon, battle other players (called trainers) and more.
2016 marks the 20th anniversary of Pokemon, a Japanese game that centers around fictional "pocket monsters" that human trainers catch and train to battle other Pokemon. Each Pokemon has its own strengths and fighting moves. Battling makes them stronger and is part of training. While Pokemon can be knocked out and returned to the Pokeball in which they are stored, they don't die. Until Pokemon Go, all this catching and battling of Pokemon has been done on consoles, handheld consoles, and playing cards.
The new game, released on July 7, 2016, puts Pokemon in the player's surroundings. It's the closest thing to "real live Pokemon" that you'll find. For a kid who has been playing the game for years (and the parents who share that enthusiasm), Pokemon Go is a pretty exciting development.
5 great things about Pokemon Go
- Kids want to leave the house to search for Pokemon.
- The more you walk around an area, the more Pokemon you find (which translates into exercise).
- People are actually meeting and talking during their hunt for Pokemon (remind kids to always use caution when talking to strangers).
- The camera option lets players snap pics as they play (great for scrapbooks).
- It's free!
The bad things about Pokemon Go
- Busy server can't handle the massive requests for log-ins. (Four days in and this is already improving)
- The criminal element always finds a way to ruin things and Pokemon Go is no exception. In just the four days after its launch, reports have been filed of armed robbers using beacons in the game to lure victims to them. Be sure to keep safety in mind and talk with your kids about safety procedures.