I’m gonna go ahead and make the assumption that you’ve probably heard about Pokemon GO. If you haven’t, I’m going to make the assumption you’ve spent the last month under a rock. I know what you’re thinking, you’re probably rolling your eyes, figuring it’s just another video game that doesn’t matter and waiting for me to start talking about nursing again. But this week, I’m trading my syringes for Pokeballs and we’re gonna talk about why Pokemon GO does matter.
Players are out and about. To play Pokemon GO, you have to get up and get out. Pokestops are only found in the real world and you won’t catch ‘em all on your couch. Instead, Ninento and The Pokemon Company looked sedentary lifestyle right in the eye and said, “Not today, Obesity!” Never has “just a video game” brought kids outside like this. It also encourages kids to exercise, in order to hatch eggs (to get more Pokemon), you have to walk. And each egg has a distance assigned to it that you must walk before it will hatch. Pokemon GO has very sneakily made physical activity a priority.
It brings people together. Pokemon hunting is more fun with a group of people. I love searching for Pokemon with my little brother and love that the game gives us something to bond over. There is also almost always a large group of people hanging out at Pokestops, no matter what time of day. I myself have already met people because of Pokemon GO. I love seeing strangers share tips and advice and see each other at other Pokestops. Cellphone screens are the loneliest place there is. Isn’t it about time we do something together if we aren’t willing to put the phones down?
It prevents separation. Pokemon GO allows players to select between 3 teams to play for. These 3 teams are the same no matter what region you live in, what color you are, how old you are, how much money you make, how many Pokemon you’ve got, or what your gender you are. Three choices. In a world where so many other things are segregated and feelings get hurt when we’re “not enough”, Pokemon GO says none of that matters, you can be on our team.
It gives small towns something to do. In Eastern Kentucky, we don’t have very many activities or things to do. However, Pokemon GO is giving us something to do that we so desperately needed. These rural communities have few places to hang out, but Pokemon GO is giving them a way to hang out and have something to do. It can be so frustrating to live in a small area and constantly wish you were somewhere else doing something fun. Pokemon GO gives us something entertaining that we can do in our own small town.
It bridges the generation gap. I’ve seen more families playing this game together than I have any other game. It doesn’t matter if you’re a kid or not, Pokemon GO is fun for everyone. It doesn’t matter if your family is competitive or all playing for the same team, it’s just fun getting out and catching them together. The game isn’t “too hard” for younger players, neither is it “too easy” for older players. It crosses the age gap and allows us to play together, young or old.
There is opportunity for ministry. I’ve recently heard about churches that are Pokestops and are using this platform to invite players to church. Many churches have a volunteer inviting players to church during prime pokemon hours. If you can get players to the physical church, it’s just a few more steps to get them inside. What an amazing and creative way to spread the gospel to a new population of people.
I’ll be honest, I never thought that at age 23 catching Pokemon would be important or even fun for me, but I am so glad I took a chance on this game. If you aren’t playing yet, I encourage you to grab your family, get out and moving, pick a team, and have fun together. Crazy to think, maybe catching these imaginary animals are making us a little more . . . human?
Do you play Pokemon GO? If so, what do you love about the game? If not, what’s holding you back?