Wednesday evening I became aware of a wave, a title wave apparently.

My family and I were having dinner with friends when one started talking to Caleb, my 14 year old, about Pokémon Go, a new game app that was recently released (July 6th in the U.S.).

“It’s a what?” was my initial reaction.

“A game for your phone where you go around and collect Pokémon creatures.” my son enthusiastically answered.

“It’s fun.” one of our friends answered.

They both agreed it was interesting and fun to walk around collecting small virtual creatures on your phone.

I looked at both my boys “No, we’re not getting it.” was all I said.

This was a statement I echoed multiple times over the next fifteen minutes.

Did I mention that our friends are adults? In their 40’s.

Thursday morning I found myself loading Pokémon Go on my phone for both boys and myself.

Two reasons; 1) I like to test things, apps, software, etc. 2) if it’s very popular I want my sons to be able to participate with knowledge about things their friends are talking about.

Not that some silly game is worth conversing about but still, we live a different life, homeschool, self-employed, with fewer electronic games and more outdoor activities. Allowing them to know about and participate in conversations I believe can help with their personal skills (more on this later).

It’s now Saturday morning and since downloading the game I have recognized some interesting things:

  • While Pokémon Go is a phone based app game it’s not one that allows players to sit on their couch and exercise their thumbs.
  • The game itself is designed to feed on the human instincts to gather/collect, pursue/hunt, join and compete.
  • The characters are fun appealing to children and the child in even those who are older.

The real interest is in the way the game must be played.

  • Players must travel to gain characters and other items.
  • There is an element (eggs) that force one to walk not drive. To hatch an egg some require a person to travel 10k.
  • Game elements are most often located at public, historical and locations of interest.
  • There are people of all ages, parents with 6 year olds, teens, old-timers like me walking the streets playing.
  • People are talking to each other! STRANGERS!

To address this last point I am reminded of a disagreement my wife and I have. Much of my early life was spent in the South. Most of hers in the North.

People in the South are friendlier.

You get a “Howdy.” a “Hi.” and warm greeting.

In the North most often you won’t even get eye contact.

However, while walking downtown Williamsport Thursday afternoon with Jesse my 12 year old nabbing Pokéthings two people within the first block struck up conversations. During our short walk more looked, smiled and nodded.

Groups of people, usually younger, older folks tend to be solo or in pairs with wife/husband-boyfriend/girlfriend, walked the streets of downtown talking and playing.

Friday evening we walked around town again. At the intersection of Third and Market there were dozens of people! On one corner a group had erected a pop-up, had chairs and coolers, hammocks and were having a great time.

This was the first time I’d actually seen the Little League 75th Anniversary statures. I stood and read about the monument as Caleb gathered and played.

There is an interesting socialization element to Pokémon Go, one that was obviously built into its play.

It has me more motivated to take early morning walks to start betting into better shape. It certainly has us watching less evening TV.

I’m now concerned about how it’s sucking the life out of my phone battery and what it’s doing to my data usage.

Rocky at the Candle Cafe

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