If you haven’t yet heard of Pokemon Go you’ve been living in a cave. It’s a game you download to your phone by way of an app. It uses GPS technology and algorithms to send players on a mission. The mission is to capture, battle, and train virtual creatures who appear in the real world.
Pokemon Go was released in the U.S. on July 6th. Since then it has taken America (and other countries) by storm. We spent a day of our vacation in historic downtown Franklin, Tennessee, and were amazed that the majority (really!) of the people walking down the street that afternoon were playing the game. Rarely have we witnessed such a cultural phenomena. It was even featured on the network national news.
There is some negative publicity about the game revolving around accidents crime. But for the most part, considering the millions of players, the game is going well. I, for one, would say that this mostly harmless little game isn’t the worst thing in the world.
- Some of the so-called “gyms” are at churches. It should come as no surprise to you that I think this is a good thing. The church I serve happens to be used as a “gym” (a place where Pokemon battles take place) for the game. Some churches have really taken advantage of this and have provided cold water for players, have had one-on-one conversations, and have used it as an opportunity to serve people.
- It gets people moving and interacting with their environment. In order to catch the little creatures you have to move. People are discovering their neighborhoods and seeing places they’ve never seen before. Granted, much of the time their face is in the screen of the phone, but they have to look up every once in a while to see where they’re going. It’s also getting people out for at least a little bit of exercise.
- It’s intergenerational. I’ve seen kids playing alongside their parents. Adults are playing and now have something in common with children. It’s bringing people together over an admittedly silly topic, but it’s bringing people together nonetheless.
- It’s fun. The world is a dark and serious place…especially lately. Why not use a popular game as a fun distraction from it all?
- It benefits local business. Museums, National Parks, and malls have seen an uptick in business. A little boost to the economy helps people keep jobs and businesses make profit.
Sure, there may be some negatives to this whole craze. But let’s just enjoy the fun for a little while. When Pokemon Go is played correctly and safely it can have a positive impact on people…maybe even a positive spiritual impact.
What do you think about Pokemon Go?