I’m trying something new again.  If you’re around my age, you remember your children watching Pokémon.  I recall never quite getting into it back then, but now I cannot peel myself away from this new game.  Yes!  I have an obsession with Pokémon Go.

Granted, I work in wireless, which is a young-ish business.  For the most part, the people who work for me are millennials, like my son, who also grew up watching Pokémon.  So when one of them came into work and excitedly showed us this game the day after it released, well, I just had to have a look.  It was really cool to see the game using the phone’s camera technology to make it look like a Pokemon was in our own real environment.  So cool!

Yes, I’m geeking out over AR or Augmented Reality, which is something that you see every day but don’t realize what it is.  Unlike Virtual Reality, which takes over your entire environment, Augmented Reality uses a computer to add to your environment.  Google Glass is one example.  Another example?  How about watching a football game and seeing the yellow first down line? That’s AR, the football players don’t see that line only we do.

A Picture is Worth What?

What’s really fun is the game includes a camera option so you can take pictures of Pokémon in your live environment.  Chris and I went out for lunch today and for some reason, they wanted to eat our food and have our drinks, bad Pokémon.  The game also uses the camera’s viewer to create the Augmented Reality environment so you can see a Pokémon standing right next to you.  You have the option of turning it off, though and making it appear like a regular game.

Historical Places

I know some people hate that that the Poké Stops are set up in historical locations like the Holocaust Museum and Arlington National Cemetary.  And I will agree, that in some places it’s just not appropriate. But at the same time, this game is bringing people to places they’ve never been before.  Perhaps it make them look at monuments, placards and statues that they’ve never looked at before.

Today, I was on a Town Green that was loaded with Poké Stops (a place that you can get more Poké Balls and other items to capture the Pokémon.)  The Town Green included a WWII memorial along with a Korean and Vietnam War memorial.  I’ve never been to the green before, so I never saw them before.  But today, I did and I stopped to reflect on those wars and how long they seemed at that time. But now we’re in a war that’s been going on for 13 years and I wondered when we’d see their memorial.  I’m not saying that every person who runs to a Poké Stop to collect more tools will appreciate the historical significance of where they stand.  But some will, and would they have ever gotten to that spot if it weren’t for a game?

Are We Exercising Now?

The other thing that I love about this game is that it gets people off their butt.  You can’t really play this game from a car, cars go too fast.  You have to get up close and personal with most Poké Stops in order to get the extra game balls and get eggs to hatch.  Plus, you have to walk a specific distance to get the eggs to hatch and you can’t be going over 20 miles an hour.  Which means, you can’t drive.  I know a car is capable of going less than 20 miles an hour, but really the only place that can happen is in a parking lot.  Try that on a street and you’ll probably get rear-ended.  You can use a bicycle, but that’s also exercise, so either way, you’re getting a workout in while playing the game.

Not very often does a game like Pokémon Go come along.  It’s pushing our technology a step forward, it’s getting people off their butts and encouraging them to walk and it’s engaging the interest of young and not so young alike.  Not to mention, I’m not the only one with an obsession for Pokémon Go–it’s turned into a worldwide obsession.  How’s that for trying something new?