Okay okay, I know this sounds insane, but stay with me here, folks.
I, like most of the world, entered the world of Pokemon GO this week. And like most of the world, became instantly addicted. Checking for Pokemon at work, going the long way to the shops in case there was the odd Rattata or Pidgey hanging about. And I have felt the pure elation of an egg hatching and revealing a wonderful Charmander!
Anyone who has not experienced Pokemon GO yet, I realise I sound completely insane right now, but you have to experience it to understand the obsession, I’m telling you. Go download it, now.
Anyways, there have been a ton of articles out talking about how this massive fad that has taken the globe and the positive and negative effects that have come out of it. The bad ones = criminals luring people to dark alleys to rob them. The good ones = Pokemon GO helping people with mental illnesses get out of the house and encouraging children to play outside.
Well I have another good spin on the Pokemon madness for you – it’s great for travel.
Stay with me, guys.
The travel element.
The thing is, Pokestops are located in places of interest around the location you’re in so you can quite clearly see on the map whether you’re near anything cool. Now in a new city you’re exploring, this could be a tourist attraction or a museum or a famous landmark that you may have had trouble finding – well the Pokemon GO app will show you exactly where it is!
I’ve noticed this benefit of the game, just by exploring my own city. The city of concrete cows itself, Milton Keynes. Now I’ve walked the same route every lunchtime from my office to the likes of Pret-A-Manger or M&S, mainly with my head down checking Instagram, not really seeing the world around me. And once I started the Pokemon GO craze, I started noticing loads of totally cool stuff in my hometown that I didn’t know was there. From plaques on the wall documenting important historic moments to giant sculptures that I just never noticed.
This massive sculpture for instance. It’s right outside my office. I’ve passed it millions of times. But until I saw it as a Pokestop on the game, I’d never really looked at it…
Now I know that makes me sound completely ignorant and self-involved, but when you’re in your home town, I just don’t think anyone really looks around. It’s the everyday mundane. Your eyes behave totally differently to if you were in a new city, looking around, taking it all in.
I also think it’s an ice-breaker! I’ve spoken to more strangers this week than I normally would. Because “mate, there’s a Zubat over there!”. I’m just saying.
So that’s my case, ladies and gentleman. I think Pokemon GO is actually making me sit up and take notice of the town around me. I mean, I know it’s Milton Keynes and not somewhere glam like Paris or Rome, but it’s certainly made me see my beloved MK a little differently.
Or I’m a completely insane 28 year old, addicted to a game catching fictitious characters designed for children.
Either way. Gotta catch ’em all.
What do you think of Pokemon GO? Have you noticed anything in your hometown since it became a Pokestop?! Or am I totally mad? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me @HeelsInBackpack!