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I've had the pleasure of spending that last 24 hours totally enthralled with Pokemon Go, constantly checking the app to see if any new Pokemon have popped up around me. And I was up until 1 a.m. walking around my neighborhood with my boyfriend catching Pokemon, and it hit me. While there are other apps like it, Pokemon Go isn't just a mobile again, it's so much more.
1. Gets You Outside
As someone who works from home, I rarely get outside during the day during the work week. With gaming news constantly breaking, I've always got my eyes and ears open, ready to pounce on a breaking story. And I don't have a dog that I need to walk. But with Pokemon Go, I actually have a reason to go outside and walk around. I'm not wandering aimlessly, but I'm on a mission to hunt down Pokemon.
2. Spend Time With Friends And Loved Ones
The great thing about Pokemon Go is it doesn't have to be a solo game. I went out and walked around with my boyfriend, tracking Pokemon and hunting around our neighborhood together where we found things like Abras, Rattatas and Ponytas. For the last 24 hours, our conversation has been heavily influenced by Pokemon Go, learning the way the game works together and discussing ways we can get different kinds of Pokemon in different areas. It reminds me of when I used to go geocaching with friends, using GPS to search for some kind of treasure hidden by someone else. It has this way of bringing people together.
3. Get Exercise
I can't tell you the last time I walked as much as I have in the last 24 hours. With Pokemon Go, it actually encourages walking. For example, in order to hatch an egg you might've picked up at a PokeStop, you need to walk a certain distance to do so. Like I have an egg right now in the incubator that needs 10 kilometers in order to hatch it; that's a little over six miles! And instigating that kind of exercise is different than most video games, which don't require things like walking in order to further gameplay.
4. Encourages You To Explore
Since I began my Pokemon Go journey, I've already talked about exploring the different parts of Los Angeles to gain access to the different Pokemon in each area. And I've also seen a lot of chatter on social media about people going places just so they can explore and find more Pokemon. Niantic Labs has turned the Pokemon Go game into a reason to explore, a reason to get up in the morning and make plans to do something other than sliding into the Netflix oblivion. For example, you can only find water Pokemon near the water, so in order to try and capture those Pokemon, you need to find water, which encourages exploration.
I've suddenly started thinking about my world in terms of Pokemon Go, as if I've slipped a pair of Pokemon shades over my eyes and all I see, all I can think about are Pokemon and where to find them. What Pokemon are outside right now and can I get to them? It's an addiction, but probably the healthiest video game addiction I've ever had. And all of the elements of Pokemon Go elevate it to something totally different than most other video games, something magical.