Hi, my name’s Bruce, and I’ve got a problem. It’s been four hours since I last went to a gym.
“Where were you?” Tracey asked me.
“I just popped outside,” I said. Guiltily. “For a little walk.”
Four weeks ago, before my pre-operation weight loss regime, this would have been a really odd answer. Now it’s something I do a couple of times a day.
But Tracey still raised an eyebrow. And for good reason.
“It’s midnight!” she exclaimed. “You walked to the squash courts, didn’t you?”
There’s a Pokemon Gym at the squash courts in the next street and I’ve been there not once in the twenty years I’ve lived in this house but six times today.
“Don’t you think this Pokemon Go stuff is getting a bit out of hand?” asked Tracey.
I couldn’t agree more.
“I know! We took that gym over four hours ago and someone’s come along already and taken it back.” I was all indignant-OMG-face, with palms up and everything, but to be honest Tracey wasn’t giving off much of an understanding vibe.
“Can we just go to sleep now?” she sort of begged.
Perfectly understandable request. Especially since it was already tomorrow.
“Just as soon as I search the Pokestop on last time,” I assured her. We’ve got a Pokestop across the road I can reach from the yard and sometimes the lounge (that’s right, I can reach it from my house – eat my shorts red team!). Tracey’s facial expression was suddenly so hard I suspected it could cut diamonds. “It’s for Josh, not me,” I said. True too. I’m not even playing, I’m just helping Master11. “I’m sort of actually being a super dad here.”
Despite what you’re just read, I’ve been telling myself I’m not really into Pokemon Go myself, but both my sons are. I’ve spent a fair bit of the weekend driving Master24 and Master11 around town to different gyms so they can battle people and the rest of my time walking around the neighbourhood while they catch Pokemon.
“Dad!” Master11 said, tapping on my car window after he’d jumped out to got find a gym at the Duck Ponds, “Dad!” I lowered the glass. “I love you so much for doing this. So much!”
That in itself makes the whole game worth it. Driving around for an hour, we chat about where to try next and what’s happening in the local Pokemon Go community – a community which has sprung out of nowhere in the few days this game has been a thing.
The streets of G-town are littered with people walking around with their phones catching Pokemon for the game. You can tell some of them haven’t seen sunlight for a while. I’ve seen a woman of about 60, and kids as young as ten. I’ve seen women in cars and groups of teens and early twenties walking around chatting and laughing. As an excuse and a bit of a disguise, I’ve been taking Winter for walks with me.
It’s just fantastic.
If you haven’t heard of it yet, and I accept there are probably a couple of you still out there, Pokemon Go is a game you play on your phone based on the hit series Pokemon, which I started watching with Master24 fifteen odd years ago and which Master11 has taken to just as much. But unlike the other phone apps, this one encourages you to go outside and walk.
And bugger me, it works.
So forget your BizFits and your other fitness trainers: just download Pokemon Go. You’ll be itching to get out the door. You won’t care you’ve reached your 10,000 steps for the day, only that you need to walk another 1.2kms to hatch the next damn egg. And with Pokemon Go there’s always another egg.
Anyway, I’ve more to say about what a stupid game this is – how I’m loving helping Master11 with his ‘training’, and don’t bother with Pokemon Go if you don’t want to go outside because you’re comfortable and warm or suspect you’re a vampire or something, and how I think I might actually be a little bit addicted – but I can’t because I really need to stop typing: it’s 11.50pm and I’ve just noticed the bastard yellow team have taken over the gym at the squash courts so I need to put my dressing gown on and go for a little wander.
I might put a lead on Winter again, just so it doesn’t look odd.
On the Pro side of Pokemon Go:
- Like all good addictions, the first one is free. It costs nothing to join up and get started.
- The streets will be scarier for some people. Specifically, hardcore gamers. They’ll need to get out of their homes and using their legs.
- You won’t want to stop walking. It’s an excuse to walk around the block/s. Neighbouring suburbs. Nearby towns.
- Your preteens/teens need you to drive them around so they’ll have to talk to you. And talk nicely too.
- Because of where they’ve placed Pokestops & Pokegyms, you’ll see parks and landmarks in your area you didn’t know existed. And you’ll wonder why, because they’ll be really busy.
- For an App game, it’s actually really social. Smile, wave and say hi when you notice people making the signature swippy move on their screens. It’ll be nice to have familiar faces at Pokemon Annonymous in a year or two.
On the Con side of Pokemon Go:
- Street signs hate the game. Trees too. They’ll often jump out in front of you while you’re walking and swinging your phone around looking for wild Pokemon.
- You’ll want to spend some money at some point. You can collect Pokeballs (for capturing Pokemon) at Pokestops, but at some point you will get impatient and decided, just this once, it’s so much quicker to throw US$1.49 at the game for 20 Pokeballs. I lasted until day three before this happened.
- Housework suffers. Likewise the quality of meals you’ll start plating up. Toast is a meal, yeah? Definitely sleep seems to take a back seat while it’s all new and shiny.
- All that money you’ve poured into beer and cheese to give yourself a layer of thick blubber for winter is probably going to disappear.
In other Pokemon Go news:
This is a little bit fabulous – a powerful Clefairy has taken over Wesboro Baptist Church LINK
Don’t forget to look up – people are walking into trees LINK
Some hints and tips for newbies (that’s all of us at the moment) LINK
More popular than Twitter? Wow. LINK
Some of the finer aspects of the game explained LINK
Some great memes and stories out there already:
“Raising a family on little more than laughs”
Sharing is caring. Plus it really does make a difference. Thanks heaps.
This is not a sponsored post.