Monday Musings – Just Get Out and GO!

Today’s post is a joint effort brought to you by The Boy, The Girl and Myself. It’s a little long, but we have a lot so say on the subject!

Yeah, I’ll admit it. I’m not ashamed in the least! I will declare proudly and loudly that I…um well…I mean…Okay! Okay! Iplaypokemongo! There, I said it! Yeah, that’s right, I am a 50-something housewife and I play Pokemon Go!

Sure, I was afraid to admit it at first. I didn’t even tell The Man or the kids that I had downloaded it. Friday Night at Pub Club, The Man had downloaded it just before I did. Oh, the shame!

But why so much shame? Perhaps because the game was met with such scrutiny and negativity when it was released last week, everyone certain that this was going to be the final downfall of society. People asking why the kids need a game to get them out of the house? Well, I’m here to tell you that if it takes a game to get people, of ALL ages up off their couches, then so be it! It may not be for everyone, but it certainly works for some, and that’s not a bad thing.

“Sure,” you say, “they are out there with their noses buried in their phones, not seeing anything but imaginary characters on a screen. What good it that doing?” Well, yes, I will concede that while you are battling or catching a Pokemon, you do have to investigate the screen, but you also do a lot of talking and walking and enjoying the company of your friends. There’s the celebrating when you capture one of those little imaginary guys too! There is a person-to-person interaction that takes place and it. is. good. Who says that the motivation to get outside has to be the same for everyone anyway? Different strokes for different folks!

To tell the truth, I played the gameboy game when my kids were little too. I felt it was my duty as a mom to see what the games my kids were into were about. I ended up enjoying that game too. My experiences with this GO version so far include seeing our town’s square filled up on a warm summer’s night, with people young and old, families, groups of teens, twenty-somethings and “members of the establishment” just having FUN! I’ve experienced family fun with my kids, grandkids and The Man! The Boy and the Girl, though they roll their eyes at their parents’ questions, are having just as much fun teaching us the game as we are having fun learning it.

Speaking of learning, let’s have The Girl Explain the various terminology, lest I lose you at a Pokestop or a Gym.

Pokemon Go has many aspects to it, however is fairly easy to catch on even if you are unfamiliar with Pokemon in general. The names of the individual Pokemon may be difficult to remember, but the basic functions and terms are pretty simple to remember. A few that I will cover include are Gym, Pokestop, Pokeball, and, of course, Pokemon.

A Gym is a location, sometimes a church, sometimes a park, or any number of other locations, where a Trainer, or player, will be able to claim a team and defend from the teams they are not a part of. There are three teams in total Instinct (yellow), Mystic (blue), and Valor (red). If the Gym is controlled by other players of the same team, the Trainer will be able to join in the defense of the Gym. If the Gym is controlled by one of the other two teams, the Trainer will be able to fight the other players who are defending the Gym in attempts to claim it for their own team.

A Pokestop  is a place, often a small business and/or historical attraction, in which a player can go to receive items such as Pokeballs, healing items, eggs (to hatch Pokemon), and items that attract Pokemon or make them easier to catch. Pokeballs are what can be used to catch Pokemon. And of course, Pokemon are creatures, often based off of animals or other things in nature, that posses powers. In the original games, comics, and show, a Trainer will battle other trainers and make their Pokemon stronger and usually there’s some sort of lesson in friendship. It can be a bit difficult to explain, but if video games, comics, and cartoons are your thing, I suggest checking them out if you haven’t already.

All this aside, Pokemon Go is a great game for anyone, even if you know nothing about Pokemon or haven’t seen or experienced and of the original games or cartoon. It immerses you in the world and allows you to experience it first hand. You can very easily bond with people you may not have thought to talk to before, the big biker guy next door or the girl down the street, people of all backgrounds, ages, genders, dispositions, so many different people you never would have thought you’d have anything in common with may play and thoroughly enjoy the game. It brings people together, uniting them when they may have never even spoken otherwise. I’ve only experienced this kind of community at anime and comic conventions. A group of people united by something they all enjoy.

This kind of atmosphere is now everywhere. People often greet each other very pleasantly at conventions with, “Hey! I like that show too!” or “I really like your cosplay!” and I’ve seen this carry over into everyday life between players. “Hey I’ve a got a Lure (something that attracts Pokemon to a Pokestop) setup over here if you want to rest a bit and wait for Pokemon.” “If you go around that corner you can find a rare Pokemon!” “There’s a bunch of Pokestops down this way.” Sometimes you’ll even hear people just greet you with a simple, “Yeah! Pokemon Go!” My point is that people are acting much friendlier to each other over this game, even if it is just in a simple way. Sometimes that can be all it takes to make someone’s day.

Well put! I too like the aspect of meeting people out doing the same thing, especially those of, well, my age and older. One glance in the direction of a person playing Pokemon Go, and it is evident what they are doing. For those of us who are a certain age, we try to look nonchalant, but catch the eye of a cohort and that knowing glance is exchanged. Our dirty little secret is exposed. A sheepish grin begins to spread across our faces and perhaps a little blush, followed by a giggle. Yeah, we know we’re probably too old to be playing, but we’re also not dead! We like to have fun just as much as the next trainer!

There’s a lot to learn about your surroundings as The Boy found out. Let’s have him share some fun facts about the Pokestops and his experiences playing the game. He’s out playing with friends right now, so hopefully this post goes up before midnight! 🙂

Exploration. Discovery. Comradery. All of these words can be used to easily describe the essence of what the entire Pokemon series is about, and its newest installation of Pokemon Go captures all of them perfectly. From capturing new Pokemon, to learning about new things in your own home town, there is a lot to find and do with this app. You see, Pokestops aren’t just random locations for players to get items and collect Pokemon at. Pokestops are all various local shops, parks, and art pieces that were all submitted by users in a previous game created by Pokemon Go’s developer, Niantic Labs. What this more or less means, is that Pokemon Go brings people to new places they may not have been or visited very often. Ever since this game came out, I’ve walked to many a park I haven’t visited before, or been to in a very long time. In short, this game teaches and more even suggests that players learn about the world around them. Even if they seem to simply be living in their phones, they are being pulled towards various unique and interesting things around them.

The game has opened up a lot of discussion among the members of this household. Talking about the news stories surrounding this new phenomenon. We’ve discussed the importance of staying aware, of using common sense and having respect for others privacy, property and feelings. It’s important to have these discussions even when your “kids” are college aged. We know that there are risks and dangers in a game of this nature, but it can be a teaching tool and an opportunity to spend time with your kids!

We’re getting more exercise. The Boy gets up early and goes for walks, and I see changes in his attitude and his health too. He’s happier and chattier. He might even be developing some muscle. The same with the girl, she hangs around downstairs more and is engaged in group conversation. We all have fun going out and goofing off.

Pokemon Go is not all bad. It brought the three of us together for this post, after all. With so much wrong in the world right now, it’s good to see something so simple as a game bring people together, if only for a brief passing moment and a smile. What are you waiting for? GO! Catch ’em all. You know you want to. OH and Team BLUE Rocks!

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