Pokemon Positives That Have Little To Do With The Game
Maybe it's the state of our culture, that we just must argue about everything -- even a video game. I am not a gamer at all and I have downloaded games to my phone a total of ZERO times before (except Angry Birds Star Wars, but it was for my kids, not me), but I was intrigued by the idea of Pokemon GO. If you're a little skeptical (or a straight-up hater), maybe this will give a little perspective.
It wasn't actually the idea of playing the game that resulted in me downloading the app, but rather, what people -- and businesses -- are doing with it.
With "lures," a function of the game that allows players to increase the likelihood of locating a Pokemon in a given area, businesses are seeing a flurry of unusual traffic. For places of business that just want to get potential customers through the door, lures have become an incredibly effective marketing tool. South Lansing Farmers Market, open Thursday from 3 to 7pm, will be dropping lures every half hour and inviting guests to "catch 'em all" at their two PokeStops and PokeGym!
Obviously, the game is unique as it gets players off the couch and exercising more than some of them ever have in their lives, as the entire game is based on walking. But how about the groups and even municipalities that are building events around it to promote and uplift their communities.
The City of Owosso will host The Great Pokemon Hunt beginning at 10am on Saturday and continuing through Sunday. Organizers built the hunt to complement several other weekend happenings in the community, saying "Businesses and others will be setting bait (lures), there will be PokeStops all over downtown...also this weekend there are sidewalk sales, cars cruisin' the pits, and a huge Farm Market on Saturday morning."
As part of the Owosso event, organizers encourage players to bring cards to trade and to participate in a screen capture contest for prizes.
A similar event will happen in the City of Durand on Friday July 22nd. The Pokemon GO Walk-a-Thon is a free group hunt, however, a $5 donation gets participants access to ice cold water and a WiFi hot spot, and money collected will all be donated to Hurley Children's Hospital, the local Children's Miracle Network hospital, in Flint.
And then there are the churches that are reaching out to players in "unorganized" events -- offering water and other items to players that just happen to be walking by, and the animal shelters that are inviting players to walk dogs while they're on their hunt.
Since downloading the game on Tuesday night, I've caught several Weedles and Pidgeys, a Magikarp and Eevee. Even a Rattata and Charmander. My neighbor's pool was full of Pokemon last night. But I'm much more interested in how people are using the game to connect with others, their communities and improve their health (somewhat inadvertently, albeit) than I am with the game itself. In fact, I really don't have any idea WHY I'm catching these Pokemons. Is this a game that a person can win?
Oh, there's one other thing -- the best thing, actually -- about playing the game; I'm playing it with my kids.