The workout facility where I usually get my calorie burns is closed for a few days this week. So I set out for a little 5-mile walk in nearby Des Peres Park, only to be engulfed by a multitude of Pokemon GO players trying to find whatever Pokemon character that had been geo-located into the park that day.
It was a very bizarre experience.
I’ve heard about the popularity of Pokemon GO but I never really experienced it before yesterday. I went to http://www.pokemongo.com to get a little overview and I watched the video on their home page. It’s actually a pretty cool idea – using the interactivity of your phone as a geo-tracking gaming device to find Pokemon characters not just in your area, but all over the world.
The reality was a bit different.
As I tried to stroll through the park, there were literally hundreds of people – mostly teens in clusters of three or four walking all around, all staring at their phones as they moved about.
Upon arrival, I immediately knew that Pokemon GO had lured them to the park. It’s what you call a Poke Stop. That’s not a bad thing. But most of them had their heads down as they were walking. You had to avoid them – they were oblivious to your presence as they searched the park for Pokemon characters in their habitat.
I saw a few people on bikes, riding and looking at their phones at the same time – a certain recipe for disaster. I had to step out of their way as they went by. There were a few others on skateboards, heads down, searching their maps, looking for where they might be able to throw a Poke Ball and up their level.
It wasn’t all teens, either, who were transfixed by their phones. Lots of adults were in on the hunt as well. I saw a mom, pushing a stroller with two babies in it. Her concentration was entirely focused on the phone.
You can’t really complain about a game that gets you out and about, off of the couch and out of the house. It also gets you to explore and maybe go places you haven’t gone before.
It’s just when you have hundreds of people doing the exact same thing and their entire focus is the phone, it makes you wonder.
Mark Twain had a quote, “Golf is a good walk spoiled.”
Put Pokemon GO in place of golf and that pretty much sums up my feelings.
How about you?