Proponents of Pokemon Go, that fabulous real world Pokemon game, will say that it is a marvelous opportunity to go outside and get exercise while at the same time offering a fun gaming experience. How beautiful that young men and women will now take to the streets to become Pokemon Masters and put their best foot forward towards this endeavor. Now, I beg the question, is taking a walk with eyes glued to the screen the same as taking a walk with eyes aware to the sights around you? I hazard it is not.
Chiefly among the reasons for my standing lies the fact that this video game, like most any, will have no real world application. Short of getting exercise (for both feet and thumb) there is an extremely small amount of productive information learned from this game. One point I have heard argued is that since each game landmark represents a real world memorial, sculpture, or building, it stands to reason that game player’s attention will be directed to their local geography. This argument only stands upon solid ground if the player looks up from the video game representation of the landmark to see where they actually stand. The fact of the matter is that the gamer will only have geographical knowledge of the video game location. They may remember where the fallen soldier memorial stands, but only in the context that the monument has Pikachu nearby. It is too easy to get lost in the video game world and not pay attention to our real one.
Briefly, I mentioned that “productive information” cannot be learned from a video game. This point works in part with that real world hobbies require a great deal more patience, focus, and other constructive traits that could easily be labeled some of life’s virtues. Its simple-video games are too easy. They, including this game, cater to much of today’s younger generation by feeding their addiction to instant gratification. Just recently I heard that there are websites that show exactly where Pokemon are at on a map. Instead of wandering about to find them, which is supposed to be the point, players now have explicit information on where or what they seek. More recently I listened to some players complaints when the original creators took down the new sites. It got a little hard and now the masses are complaining. Most real world hobbies that do not include Netflix, YouTube, or a T.V. will require the cultivation of certain skills that can transfer into a person’s life. An extremely simplified example is how a knitter can create a scarf or hat to be used in cold weather or sold for profit. Knitting is his hobby that yields tangible results. Even deeper and we see the patience and knowledge that entails making a hat. Creativity is sparked and the body and mind is healthily challenged.
A gardener has his garden, a fisherman his fish, a blogger his writing, a reader his vocabulary, a runner his health, and the gamer has his hours spent on a couch reaping the rewards that mostly translate into negative results. In the case of Pokemon Go, a player has their Pokemon. Is that productive? Looking around and experiencing real things will reign above playing a game and it cannot be argued that it is okay because it gets people outside. If a person understands that going outside is healthy for them, then they should go outside of their own accord and not need the video game to coerce them into doing so.
Furthermore, I dislike how this game can captivate the attention of children. Kids love Pokemon and are introduced to the world of video games through this inlet at such a young age that the results are that they become engrossed with this game and inevitably, others will follow in its wake.
At the end of it all, this does not mean to quit playing. IT DOES NOT mean to forsake movies and video games and social media in pursuit of ultimately unplugging from the technological engine. The take from this that must be acknowledged is there has to be a balance between hobbies’s that are constructive and those that simply eat time. Pokemon Go is a game under the guise that people can become “real-life” Pokemon masters. However realistic it may seem, this game is just that-a game. It should not be perceived as anything but.
Please note that this does not come from a person who has not experienced the wonders of video games. I played heavily for many years. So much so, without exaggeration, that it was closer to an addiction. This essay comes from a person who explicitly knows both sides of the equation and has found that life > video games; no matter what a person decides to do.
Video Games are walls that lull us into feeling safe at the expense of us never seeing beyond them.