People of all ages lured to Pokemon Go

Written by Muleskinner Staff

By TAYLER DONALDSON
(KANSAS CITY, Mo., digitalBURG) – The streets of the Crossroads District in Kansas City were crowded with people recent weekday afternoon.
A dad looked intently at his phone while a child sat on his shoulders pointing in the direction of Pokemon. Adults sat on curbs with teenagers swapping tips for hatching eggs.
As I walked down the street, a group of people yelled to me, “What team are you?” And when I said “blue,” they invited me to come help them defeat a gym. I made friends with people I would have most likely never talked to in my life just from playing an app on my phone.
One of the people I met was Chris Page, a 21-year-old web developer.
“I’ve heard so many people talking about how Pokemon Go has benefited their mental health in amazing ways,” he said. “It encourages people with social anxiety to go outside and take walks, and even interact with other players if they feel like it. This game brings people together in areas they may have never visited if it wasn’t for Pokemon Go. I’ve met more people and talked to more strangers in the last couple weeks than I have in years… possibly my whole life.”
Pokemon celebrated the 20th anniversary of the release of their original games this year, and released their new augmented reality game “Pokemon Go.” This is a free game for phones that requires the player to go outside and walk around using GPS to catch Pokemon and find gyms to battle in. The app has already passed $35 million in revenue from shop purchases in just a few short weeks.
“I caught a Weedle today,” said Katelyn Lake, a 6-year-old Kansas City native. “I help my sister play Pokemon when we take our dog for a walk. I am very good!”
Katelyn is just one of many young kids who have caught onto the Pokemon craze. Most were introduced by their parents or older siblings.
Tyler Anderson, a 32-year-old car salesman, was wandering around the street in a suit when I approached him.
“I’m not embarrassed about playing Pokemon Go at all,” Anderson said. “I’ve been playing since the very first game. Almost everyone in my office plays. We take walks on breaks to go Pokemon hunting. The best part of this game is there is no age limit.”
Pokemon Go has made it common to walk around your local parks and see people of all ages gathered together. Strangers work together, using items like Lure Modules, which attract Pokemon for all players in the area. The game also gives very minimal instruction on how to play, requiring the user to either ask other people or research it online.
A game that forces you to not only be social but also go outside and explore is almost unheard of.
This game has received praise from around the world and had an extraordinarily successful launch. The only question that remains is: Does it have staying power? Will interest in Pokemon Go begin to wane as time goes on, or is it here to stay? Only time will tell.
Tayler Donaldson is a senior digital media production major at the University of Central Missouri.