I only started playing Pokemon Go last night after the servers stopped crashing and I've only played for about an hour total as of right now, but already I can feel this itch, this need to explore and find more. Pokemon Go has changed my life in so many ways and I dunno if I'll ever be the same---but most importantly, it's changed my life for better.
Growing up, I never played Pokemon since my family never owned any kind of Nintendo console, handheld or not. What I knew of Pokemon I got from friends and the cards I collected, which were mostly cat and dog-themed like Persian, Ninetails and Meowth. So going into Pokemon Go, I was afraid I wouldn't know enough about Pokemon to play, but I was wrong.
Coming from a time when Pokemon first debuted, I knew just enough to get nostalgic tingles as I caught classic Pokemon like Geodude and Ratatta. I understand that being in a somewhat urban environment in a valley, I'd get things like Ekans and Weedle and Growlithe. And if I go near a real-life gym I can snag a Machoke or a Clefairy near a hospital.
From the moment I stepped outside last night to start hunting, I knew that something had changed. Working from home all the time, I don't get out much during the week and it's not like I have a dog that needs to be walked or anything. I usually do all of my walking and exercise on the weekends, but not anymore. I spent two hours last night until 1 a.m. creeping around my neighborhood with my boyfriend catching Pokemon. I walked over a mile, according to the app, which keeps track of how much you walk in accordance with hatching an egg.
My boyfriend woke me up early this morning, a half hour before work, so that we could venture out again to catch more and I walked another couple miles. I'm getting all of this exercise I never would've been motivated to do before because of the looming pile of work coming my way. But now I have a reason to go out and interact. And needless to say, we must've looked really weird walking around staring at our phones and shouting, "I caught an Abra!"
Not only that, it's a chance to spend time with friends and loved ones. You don't need to be a Pokemon expert to understand what's happening in the game. It's entertaining enough just to see a Pokemon appear and try to catch it by actually throwing a Pokeball by flicking your finger. And I don't regret spending that time at all.
But more importantly, I suddenly have this need to want to explore Los Angeles. I want to go to the beach to catch water Pokemon, and I want to hike into the Santa Monica Mountains to see what I can find. I mean Pokemon Go is encouraging all of this physical activity just to catch Pokemon and it's probably one of the healthiest games I've ever played.
Pokemon Go is literally going to change peoples' lives by getting them motivated to go outside, to be with friends and to explore cities where they thought they had seen everything. And I can shamelessly admit yes, I am addicted to Pokemon Go and I'm glad it has changed my life in the mere hours I've begun to play, and I hope it continues to affect my life in more positive ways as time goes on.