On July 9, only three days after its release date, Pokemon Go surpassed Twitter and Tinder and became one of the world’s most popular apps. As of July 11, it had over 21 million active users in America alone. Though the predominant age range of players is 25-34, the game has become increasingly popular among people of all ages.

 

(Flickr/Gleson Cacho)

(Flickr/Gleson Cacho)

Pokemon Go uses a live GPS system and real-time updates to allow players, or “trainers,” to search for Pokemon throughout their daily lives. Rather than sitting indoors in front of a screen, this game encourages you to get outside and move around. Only by travelling around your area are you able to catch Pokemon, earn points, and move up in levels. This game has sparked much controversy, as people have begun taking it to more extreme measures such as trespassing, travelling to dangerous areas, and even walking into oncoming traffic in order to collect more Pokemon and bonuses.

 

In only two weeks of game play, there have been numerous reports of people getting severely injured while chasing Pokemon. On July 12, a man from Auburn, NY crashed his car into a tree while playing Pokemon Go. Though he was barely injured, his vehicle was completely destroyed. That same afternoon, a 15-year-old girl from Pennsylvania was hit by a car while trying to cross a busy highway in search of Pokemon. While many people claim they will not succumb to the addiction of this game, doing dangerous activities to further one’s game play is not a rare occurrence. Nearly 85 percent of players have admitted to playing while driving, 10 percent have trespassed while playing, and 16 percent admit to playing for over four hours a day.

 

(Flickr/Gleson Cacho)

(Flickr/Gleson Cacho)

This game is not all bad, though. Seeing as one must continuously walk around the area to progress, the game has significantly increased the amount of exercise the players get. People have even begun complaining about having sore legs from all of the walking around they have done to increase their Pokemon collection.

 

Pokemon Go has mental health benefits, as well. People with depression have reported being more motivated to leave their house to spend time walking through their neighborhoods, socializing with other players, and enjoying their time outdoors while playing. The game encourages others to make new friends at local Gyms where Pokemon can battle one another. To battle, one must first join one of the three Pokemon teams: Mystic, Valor, or Instinct. Joining one of these teams has increased the amount of positive interactions players have with others from their area. Team members, whether strangers or friends, will band together to battle other team members at the local Gym locations to earn their team points and “take over” specific areas.

 

One mother has even reached out to Nintendo to thank them for creating the game that has caused her autistic son to socialize. “After [her autistic son] caught his first [Pokémon] at the bakery, he was shrieking with excitement. He ran outside to catch more. A little boy saw him and recognized what he was doing. They immediately had something in common,” she states in her letter. “My autistic son is socializing. Talking to people. Smiling at people. Verbalizing. Participating in pragmatic speech. With total strangers. Looking up at them. Sometimes even in the eye. Laughing with them. Sharing something in common.”

 

Whether you have been a Pokemon fan all of your life or you just began getting into it with the release of this new game, Pokemon Go app download. Explore your area, make new friends, and stay aware of your surroundings.

 

What do you think of Pokemon Go? Follow the conversation below, or on Twitter @VictoriaRimer