I'm sure many people have at least heard of Pokémon. So, I just gotta do it and write about Pokémon Go. If you aren't aware of Pokémon Go, it's an app you can download on your phone and play Pokémon. Essentially you are a Pokémon Trainer and you collect Pokémon by walking around and finding Pokémon in the wild. Using Pokéballs that you acquire from Pokéstops and Gyms, you try to catch the wild Pokémon. Over time as you collect more Pokémon, evolve the characters and complete challenges, you level up your Trainer.
I originally joined the Pokémon Go bandwagon back in 2016. My kids were all excited when it first debuted as an app. Pokémon wasn't something I had played previously nor knew much about since I was well into my 20's before it came out. I knew who Pikachu was and I do remember my nephews talking about it and collecting the trading cards. When my kids were younger, they too were into Pokémon; collecting the trading cards and even watched Pokémon cartoons. Then one day my son brought home a Pokémon book from school and I read it to him at bedtime. It was a great story and I was pleasantly surprised by the storyline. That led me to asking a lot of questions about the characters, the teams and the individual trainers featured in the story. After a few stories and lots of questions, I then had a very basic understanding of Pokémon.
Then the Pokémon Go app was introduced. My son was first on and I followed right behind the next day. Within a few more days both my daughter and wife had downloaded the app and were catching Pokémon left and right. Our area wasn't particularly active with Pokémon so we would drive down to a new area and get out start walking and exploring not only Pokémon but our surrounding neighborhood, parks and busy cities. Shortly after starting the game, we took a vacation and there were all kinds of new Pokémon to catch. This went on for almost a year and then one by one everyone stopped catching Pokémon. I held out the longest as I actually enjoyed the game but eventually stopped playing. A couple of times a year I would open the app and see new Pokémon characters catch a few and that would be it. In reality though we had so many obligations such as kid's sports and school events we didn't have a lot of free time to always go out and collect Pokémon.
Fast forward to summer 2019; we head out on vacation to a family reunion and low and behold Pokémon is in full revival mode. All of the cousins are either actively playing or getting back into it. They're talking about raids and shiny Pokémon and all this new stuff. So my wife, kids and I all open the app and start looking through all of the new changes that have occurred in the game. A bit later we joined the other cousins and went and did our first Gym Raid. Seriously, it's raining out yet there are 10 of us huddled in a park gazebo battling a Legendary Pokémon, Groudon. We beat it and some of us walk away with a new Pokémon. At that moment the hunt was back on.
Over the next few days we would get into town to battle in raids and search out new Pokémon. We actually went places that we typically may not have visited and we walked more than we normally would have. We hit the downtown area and collected Pokémon but also stopped for some ice cream and shopped in the local stores. I'm not one to usually allow phones at the dinner table but we even made a few exceptions to spin some Pokéstops. Sure we had some obsessive moments trying to collect Pokémon but we also explored where we were, connected as a family and even made some new friends along the way.
Now we're back home and we've tried to continue that routine. Searching out new areas to go explore, having dinner downtown and walking the streets after to collect a few Pokémon. In the process we've discovered some unique things in our own area that we didn't even know where there. We've found a couple of fantastic parks and nature preserves that have become our regular walking trails. We even participated in our first Pokémon Community Day and it was a blast. We caught a ton of Pokémon, talked with some other players and had fun as a family. Afterwards we had dinner out and went through our Pokédex to compare our achievements.
Regardless if you're trying to connect with your kids, encourage more exercise or even just simply to have fun, Pokémon Go is a great app. With new updates and changes to the app it's developing into a more immersive game with additional options to earn and catch those feisty Pokémon. So parents if your kids are into Pokémon Go and you haven't given it a try it's time you do. Even if you don't have kids it's still a fun game and a good way of getting out and meeting people. Don't be shy either, if you have a challenge to make a new friend, then ask someone you see playing the game. They're probably going to be more than happy to help you out to complete the challenge.