We’ve been playing Pokemon Go since a few days after it came out. We have so much fun PokeHunting all together. Sometimes we stay in the comfort of our van’s air conditioning (we do live in Texas after all), but sometimes we brave the heat and walk (gotta hatch those eggs).
Of course when we first started I apparently made a terrible mistake. I made it to level 5, went to a gym, and chose Team Instinct. I had apparently not gotten the memo that our family would all be Team Mystic. After some
minor intense pressure from two of the kids in particular, I gave up my progress all the way to level 6 and started over completely. This time I went blue and one of my children who shall remain nameless actually hugged me and told me he loved me again. I’m up to level 15 now, and that child still loves me, so it’s all good.
On Fritz’s 10th birthday Cameron got his first lure module when he hit whatever level it is when you get one of those. It was like 10:30 at night, but the six of us loaded up in the van and headed to the church (our church, conveniently enough, is a PokeStop). On the way we picked up a friend and his teenage daughter. They had been out PokeHunting, but her phone died so they were walking home. We were prepared with charging cables and external batteries so they jumped in the van with us. We got to church and Cameron set off the lure.
Within minutes 30 people had showed up on foot and in cars. When our friend’s daughter learned it was Fritz’s birthday, she started singing Happy Birthday and all those random people joined in. We met a guy, a vet who fought over in the sand, named Adrian. That’s the first Adrian our Adrian had ever met. Adrian was a really nice fascinating guy. We still get happy when we see his username with a Pokemon defending a gym. Once the lure ended, we went next door to another church that is a gym. We worked together, along with Adrian, to take over and level up the gym. We never would’ve met Adrian if it wasn’t for Pokemon Go. We got home after midnight. Fritz said it was the best birthday ever, largely because of those memories we made late that night.
Ani and Cameron and a friend of theirs sat at the gym for a long time one night going back and forth with two girls, a set of twins, who are on Team Valor. In between the fighting, they chatted. They exchanged Instagrams and Snap Chats. Saturday Jamie and Ani went to Sonic and one of those twins brought their milkshakes out to them. That was fun because a friendship had already been made thanks to Pokemon Go.
The other evening we noticed the gym was easily beatable so we all headed over to battle. We took it over and then spent some time leveling it up to level 5 (Adrian doesn’t actually play since we only have 5 devices it works on, but he’s always with us when the rest of us are playing and sometimes we let him catch Pokemon on our phones). And then we all added a Pokemon. Jamie, Ani, Cameron, Fritz, and I each had a Pokemon defending that gym for a few hours. It was really cool having a family gym for a bit.
We were tipped off that the library is an especially fun place to play. There are 6 PokeStops and two gyms. Three of the Stops are right together and at least one pretty much always has a lure going. You can walk in a circle and hit all six Stops one after another and get some egg hatching time in at the same time. We’ve gone there several times (including just Jamie and me on a date). It’s so fun to watch the groups of people playing together. Friends, grandparents and grandchildren, parents and children. There’s a playground by the grouping of three Stops. Little children (including Adrian when we go there all together) run around playing happily together while their siblings and parents play Pokemon Go.
It’s not uncommon to see a child teaching their parent or grandparent how to play the game. Adrian is one of those children. He has been watching Pokemon for years and has an encyclopedia of knowledge in his brain. He can identify Pokemon by their outlines, he knows the evolutions of them all, and he can tell us which to use in battle since he knows what type each is and what fights what best. It’s so neat to see the adults really listening to what the children have to say as the child becomes the teacher.
Pokemon Go is a silly game. On the surface, it’s nothing more than a distraction. But from what I’ve seen, it’s also seriously awesome. I’ve heard of people losing weight from walking around hatching eggs. I’ve heard of parents connecting with teens in ways they were unable to before. I’ve heard of so many people making friends with people they’d never have met otherwise. There’s a camaraderie to playing a game so many others are.
Of course I’ve also heard of the dire warnings about how dangerous Pokemon Go could be. Well, life in general can be dangerous (and the number of people using the game for nefarious purposes is minuscule compared to the number playing). What it comes down to is if a silly game is giving families – mine included – and even random strangers a reason to spend time together talking and laughing, I’m in.