Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Why is Pokemon Go so successful?

I've been thinking about this post for a couple of days. I can only speak for the US, but I think it's because it came out at a time when people needed something positive to talk with other people about.  Think on that week.  We had two violent shootings of civilians by police, and then several deaths of police officers by a sniper, during a peaceful assembly to protest the earlier deaths. While we will always have the damaged people who fiercely believe that it's their purpose in life to make everyone as miserable and screwed up as they are, most of us really want humanity to just get along with itself.  We just don't know how to talk to each other.

Which is why this post struck such a nerve in me - https://www.facebook.com/NikkieTutorials/posts/985939084836854:0 - in a good and heartwarming way.  Yes, it was awkward, but at least the gentleman had the courage to make a connection that needed to be made.  Now we have something that you don't have to identify yourself as being this, that, or the other, to talk to people about.  Even though there are teams, as of yet, I haven't seen much "us against them" with them.

As one of the radio stations I listen to on the way to work stated: Pokemon Go engenders a sense of community.  Several cities have already planned Pokemon Go events for their communities. I know friends and coworkers who play it with their kids and then get hooked (though some of them are too embarrassed to admit it). I know people older than me that play it.  And to be honest, even though I don't do the walking thing, I find it rather relaxing to play for a few minutes every few hours.

Let's be honest, it play that builds the most trust between people.  You can work around someone for years and not feel any real connection with them, and then after a few games of ping-pong at a company picnic, you suddenly feel like you know the person more.  The fact that someone is willing to do something frivolous with us, makes them a little more human in our eyes.  Of course, there have been people who've misused the game, but there have been others who've made us smile by using the game to troll the Westboro Baptist Church and put a Pokemon named 'Merica in front of the White House (http://imgur.com/gallery/fM0Nm).

But the game wouldn't do so popular if there weren't other things going for it. To quote _Pokemon Go Reportedly Helping People’s Mental Health, Depression_ ( http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2016/07/11/pokemon-go-reportedly-helping-peoples-mental-health-depression/ ):

"Pokémon Go does this by encouraging people to get outside, take a walk, talk to others, and explore the world around them. Granted, it’s through their smartphone acting as an interface, but walking is walking, even if the motivation for doing so is to play a game. For a person suffering from depression or another mood disorder, the idea of exercise can be nearly impossible to contemplate, much less do. For someone suffering from social anxiety, the idea of going outside and possibly bumping into others who may want to talk to you is daunting."

Like I said, the right game for the right time...

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