If you haven’t heard of Pokémon before this month it is likely that you have heard of the new mobile device game Pokémon Go by now.
The game has swept the globe in popularity with users logging on in overwhelming numbers.
For those unfamiliar, the game is modelled after a 90s anime-style show that debuted in September of 1998. It follows a boy named Ash on the hunt to be the greatest Pokémon trainer of them all, by capturing Pokémon, which roam around in his world in the same fashion wild animals do in our world.
After the success of the show and the trading cards, Pokémon games for Nintendo took off and have been staples for some in the gaming community that use the Nintendo game boy.
“It’s a pretty social game I would say,” said gamer Scott Langille.
Langille and his friends were beating the heat and catching Pokémon under the shade of a tree by Glasgow Square last week. The premise of the game is that you are a Pokémon trainer, the same as Ash in the series, and your mission is to be the best Pokémon trainer and to catch all of the types of Pokémon.
The game sets you up on a map similar looking to a Google map and using the GPS function in your phone you must walk around and visit certain places in the community that are marked as Pokestops. This is where users set lures to attract Pokémon as well as collect pokeballs and healing potions.
So far, the game has been praised for improving mental health by getting those who normally wouldn’t be mobile out of the house and moving around, as well as being a great social conductor for those of all ages.
“I was talking to some guys last night about it because they were a higher level than me,” said Justyn Henley, who is a level 12 Pokémon trainer.
He noted that the game has gotten people out and talking to people they normally wouldn’t approach, creating a sort of community.
Although the game has been praised in many aspects, there are also a few dangers that come with the game as with most things. Around the world there have been reports of car crashes due to distracted driving from the game as well as distracted pedestrians.
Const. Ken MacDonald of the New Glasgow Regional Police Department noted that he has noticed an increase in distracted walking as well as having received a few complaints of people in downtown staring at their phones and walking right across the road into intersections without looking.
“We’re seeing an increased trend in not only distracted driving but walking,” MacDonald said.
He also warned about the false sense of security that having a phone in your hand can give you.
“If someone’s walking around with a phone it can become a false sense of security,” he said, also mentioning that elsewhere there had been cases of people being lured elsewhere in relation to the game and being attacked. Nothing like that has happened here, he assures.
For those unsure of the game or not in favour of it, Henley has this to say: “People would just be playing games in their house anyway, at least they’re outside.”
From the left, Bailey Gaudet, Justyn Henley, Meagan Cameron and Scott Langille hang out by Glasgow Square in New Glasgow to capture Pokémon by a lure. (Brimicombe photo)