Do you remember Pokemon GO?
The explosion of all things Pokemon took place in summer of 2016. Kids were playing it. Parents were playing it. My FB feed overfilled with references to little creatures with ugly names.
I had to try it. In the name of science.
When I went to download the app shortly after the release (for science), I did not even have to type the name into the Search box, as it was a number one trending item.
Open the app, and click through a bunch of FYI disclaimers, that could be pithily summarized as: “Use your head. Don’t be an asshole”.
Select your avatar. Next up, choose your avatar’s “style” – using the word “style”, rather than “gender” here earned many brownie points from gender fluid gamers and allies. More choices – blonde or brunette, pick a hat, shirt, shoes, eye color – UGH. I do not do well with numerous options and arbitrary choices.
Unexpectedly, the hardest part turned out to be naming the bastard. The usernames I tried were too long, too short, contained characters or were taken already. This is apparently what happens when an app is downloaded more than 500 million times.
Please meet 1VanTerrible. He is pretty bad ass.
The number one topic of the conversation was in the news and social media was whether Pokemon GO was a good thing, or whether it signalled that our species are indeed doomed.
The proponents suggested that this was THE thing that was going to finally get us outside, walking and connecting with other people. Opponents argued that Pokemon GO signalled the demise of the human race, especially when Pokemon players started popping up at cemeteries and Holocaust museums. Pokemon GO was also linked to multiple deaths – most having to do with distracted walking and driving. Some religious groups accused the game of Satanism.
I don’t know about Satanism, but I do know that this is probably THE closest that we have come to a zombie apocalypse. Does this not look terrifying?
Perhaps, my favorite aspect of the Pokemon GO craze was learning about the secondary markets that popped up immediately – high level accounts were soon for sale, AND, one could pay others to capture Pokemons for them – as in, you’d hand someone your phone, so they could walk around on your behalf. Outsourcing at its best. #sarcasm
Meanwhile, the question on my mind – the mind that gets bored incredibly easily – was “how long is this going to last?”.
The answer is… not very long.
After being released on July 7, 2016, the game usage peaked a week later, and by mid September, 2016, the game had lost 79% of its players. This is after the game was touted THE solution to obesity, low activity levels and loneliness. So much for that…
All the talk of “trainers” and “gyms”, and it turns out that changing our habits is still hard. Apparently, I am not the only one with a short attention span.
This brings up the usefulness of activity trackers, GPS watches, and wearables in general. CAN they have an impact on our health, and activity level? The answer is a resounding yes. But… DO they? That’s a topic for another blog post.