Family Friendly Fun Review: Pokémon Go
When I was in grade school Pokémon was all the rage. Everyone had the trading cards and watched the show. I got consumed by it myself. Everyday after school I would watch the show, every time I had some change I went to the corner store and got a pack of cards. It was a rush to crack open a fresh pack and see what surprise critters waited for me inside; maybe I would get a shiny or one I adored from the show. It was a little silly that I was so obsessed with the cards considering the majority of the people in school playing the game were boys and they were not anxious to have me join them. I never actually learned how to play but I still enjoyed collecting. One day in grade four during recess someone went into my cubby spot and stole my shiny Hypno; I am still mad about it. That is the power of this game. I am sure a lot of the hype is nostalgia but for good reason.
I certainly was not the only person who enjoyed the show and games. Pokémon became a vital part of many millennials’ childhood. Many of us grew up playing and never actually stopped. In fact, for my 24th Birthday my partner and I went and got a pair of Nintendo 3DS’ along with a pair of Pokémon games so we could play together. My partner is actually a much bigger fan than I am and he has helped me fill in a lot of the information I was not able to catch on to when I was younger. We have watched all the seasons and movies together and now that our son is old enough to enjoy the show, we watch them with him as well. Pokémon Go could not have come at a better time for our family. It is exciting for us to be able to share such a big part of our childhood with our children now; to have our children enjoy something we loved so much. Pokémon Go brings our childhood wishes alive; we can be Pokémon trainers!
The game appears to be getting a wonderful reaction. It seems like everyone I know, young and old alike, are enjoying this game. Of course there are people out there that are not impressed or it just is not something they enjoy but I am really impressed with the game for various reasons. Although there is a lot I would like to see added or fixed, the game itself is fun and what it has accomplished is even more amazing. This game is doing what many others have tried and never quite accomplished on such a large scale. Pokémon Go has gotten people out of the house to get exercise and fresh air but it has also, which I never realized would happen but I am pleasantly surprised, made people socialize. In a world where technology and social media seems to distance us while claiming to bring us together here comes a game where people just happen to find real community while playing. This is not a forced kind of socializing; you go out not even expecting to meet or talk to people but you do. You have this connection, you have tips, and jokes, and you have a good time with it all. It is exactly what the world needs right now. It is exactly what makes it such a great family friendly game.
My son is two and a half and he loves to go catch “Pikamon”. Today alone we spent at least an extra half an hour walking around while doing errands just to have fun with this. Something that would normally be rushed and boring became an adventure. We even went up a level while simply walking to the store. While my son does not quite understand how to actually catch the Pokémon and I am not sure he gets the whole augmented reality thing, he is able to get excited about walking around and catching them. He cannot swipe to throw the balls but he tries, most of the time I do it for him quickly and he presses the button on the ball while the critter is being caught, he feels like he is doing it. Once the Pokémon is caught he jumps for joy, we high five, it is a blast and it makes him so happy. Maybe a part of it is because he recognizes the characters, I am sure it is also partly exciting to be doing it with Mommy but I love to see that joy on his face. I love that it is getting us out of the house longer, it is something we both enjoy.
We are not the only family playing this together. My Facebook feed is full of my peers and their children trying to “Catch ‘em all”. Honestly, I cannot find a con to playing this with your children. It is something you can all enjoy and bond over. There are a few things I will say in warning, if you are interested in jumping on the Pokémon wagon: 1. Be cautious and teach your children how to use caution while playing- people have been seriously injured or worse while not paying attention while playing 2. Be mindful that this game does use the data on your phone if you are not connected to Wi-Fi 3. Be present and play with them, this is a great opportunity to have fun with your children- simply driving them around for them to do it defeats the purpose, and yes I saw a mom driving her two children around in a minivan doing this a day ago.
All in all, I say I am down with PoGo as family fun! It is a great way to get out with your kids and explore your neighbourhood or even travel to find new places with new Pokémon. You can easily make a whole day out of this. I really love that this is fun for all ages. It is available on the Android Google Play Store and Apple App Store and is free to play with the option to buy items in game.
Let me know what you think about Pokémon Go as family fun in the comments below. Is there any other game you enjoy playing with your kids?
If you are looking for a different Pokémon fix or perhaps to wind down after a long day of Poke hunting, Netflix Canada has plenty of Pokémon episodes and movies for you to enjoy; we certainly enjoy watching them there!
Niantic (the company that created the Pokémon Go app) actually has another augmented reality game called Ingress that my partner and I had started playing a few months ago. If you aren’t a big Pokémon fan but still enjoy this particular type of game Ingress is definitely one you should check out. I would not consider this a family friendly game. This is more of an adult game.