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Go, Going, Gone! All the Rage with Pokemon Go

Written by Meghan Peterson.

Why did the Pokemon Go-playing person cross the road? To catch a MagiKarp! What?

Let’s back up for a second.

pokemon goYou may have noticed recently in the course of your travels out and about in this summer heat the following: people walking around, faces illuminated by their phone screens, eyes glued to what they are seeing – or, in the case of the increasingly popular Pokemon Go game – what they are chasing.

Certainly, most of us are familiar with observing individuals walking and talking or texting on their cell phones – in some instances, driving and texting…wait, is that last combination illegal? Yes. In our state, it is. According to Chapter 248 Section 14-296aa on Vehicle Highway Use in the state statutes: “[u]se of hand-held mobile telephones and mobile electronic devices by motor vehicle operators and school bus drivers prohibited or restricted.” See this link for more details.

The walking-texting phenomenon is especially prominent on college campuses; although, the trend of phone-infested activities is nearly universal.

pokemonAs for Pokemon Go, what is it? What is this game that has swept up people around the globe and has riveted their attention spans longer than is typically seen in our fast-paced, technology-saturated society from China to Connecticut? According to their website, Pokemon Go is a free game that allows “travel between the real world and the virtual world of Pokemon…for iPhone and Android devices.” The makers of Pokemon Go add that their objective is to “encourage players to search far and wide in the real world to discover Pokemon.” In other words, players search for various Pokemon creatures (over 100 “species”) within their surroundings – neighborhoods, towns, cities, malls, or sidewalks. As you move around in your environment, your “smartphone will vibrate to let you know  you’re near a Pokemon.” Once you are close to your Pokemon creature, you can try to catch it by flinging a “Poke Ball” at it.

Basically, Pokemon Go is a twist on the classic game of “tag” translated into high-tech form.

During a recent day trip to Greenport, Long Island, I watched as one of my nephews played Pokemon Go – all while maneuvering through the shops, crowds on the sidewalks, and general busy atmosphere of a bustling beach community. He adeptly navigated through the masses while pursuing Pokemon creatures that happened to “appear” in the various restaurants, shops, or marina docks we passed by. Lunch was the one interruption to this young boy’s quest to find the Pokemon! He was not the only kid playing Pokemon Go that day on Long Island, either. Wherever I looked around, there were others – kids, teens, and yes, adults, too – all playing and searching for those creatures.

The addictive nature of this game appears to be widespread. Are there pros and cons to this game?

On the potentially beneficial side to the trend, Pokemon Go may be encouraging more people – especially youth – to get outdoors. After all, the goal is to seek for Pokemon creatures in one’s real world environment.

On the potentially negative side to the trend, users of Pokemon Go may find themselves taking the game into unsafe or at the least, bizarre situations. For example, two weeks ago in Westport, Connecticut, two young males playing Pokemon Go went to a prayer garden of a local church in search of Pokemon. Instead, they found a woman in the nude vandalizing the property. See this article. The other day, a man in Ohio playing Pokemon Go in a park was robbed and shot (link here).

As with any technological activity, use common sense. Be aware of your surroundings – even if it means passing up that Pokemon creature should it lead you in areas you are not familiar or comfortable with. That MagiKarp or any other Pokemon creature is simply not worth it. If you want to join the Pokemon Go craze here locally – check out just some of the many areas where the Pokemon congregate: you can find them at Higgies in Higganum, at the gazebo on the green, as well at Seven Falls and at the Higganum Reservoir State Park on Dish Mill Road. You’ll have to find the Pokemon gym yourself!

Be safe and have fun in all that you do – whether it involves Pokemon Go or not this summer!

One Response to Go, Going, Gone! All the Rage with Pokemon Go

  1. Ed Munster

    July 30, 2016 at 9:18 am

    Thank you for the article. I am not sure I get it yet!