Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Catching ‘em all: What You Need to Know about Pokemon Go

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Two weeks ago the Pokémon Company released their newest concoction for world domination: Pokémon Go. Pokémon Go creates an augmented reality game through smartphones allowing users to catch Pokémon in real time. Despite being two weeks old, the new game has already received massive amounts of praise and complaints. How could a harmless game about catching fake animals receive a ton of criticism? Pokémon has always faced players with the hardest choice right out of the gate by making you choose one of three starters. The only thing that’s changed with Pokémon Go? To download or not to download.

Pros

Stimulates Exercise

Well…it’s a start. For the past 10 years, technological devices have been glued to society’s hands and kept people indoors. You’d think we’re a generation of vampires. With 66 percent of Americans overweight, a little exercise could go a long way. Pokémon Go forces players to head outside and walk great distances to find the Pokémon of their dreams, much like trainers in the actual games. Michelle Obama spent the duration of her time in the White House trying to inspire people to become more active, and Pokémon defeats it in less than two weeks.

Builds Friendships

You won’t meet someone nowadays without Pokémon Go installed on their phone. Every Pokestop, gym and local Walmart fills up to the brim with Pokémon Go players thriving for adventure to locate the rare Porygon or taking down Team Mystics gym (Team Valor forever). “I think it’s super weird that people just come up to you asking what team I’m on, if I know where the Charmander is, and other stuff. It’s cool though because I’ve been looking for that Charmander for hours and now I’ve got people to talk to on the way,” said Broward College sophomore Bradley Perez. Break the ice with that cute girl by asking, “Who’s your strongest Pokémon?” Who knows, maybe you’ll find the Misty to your Ash while walking down the street trying to hatch an egg.

Promotes Teamwork, Patience and Determination

Nothing in the Pokémon universe gets accomplished without teamwork. Pokémon Go offers players three teams to choose from: Mystic, Valor or Instinct. You probably don’t have a 3000 combat power Snorlax and will need the help of others to take down a gym. By working with other team members, you can overcome the obstacle of a 1800cp Vaporeon and claim the throne of your newly captured gym. “It’s actually amazing how many people have come together just to play Pokémon together. You can easily point out a group of people trying to take a gym out,” said Florida International University sophomore Carmen De Armas. If you’ve ever hatched an egg in a Pokémon game, you know the struggle. Now imagine that struggle times 10. You’ll quickly learn patience while waiting to see what mystery Pokémon sleeps within the egg. Don’t get discouraged by the wait, because the prize at the end makes it all worth the trouble of walking around the globe.

Relive Your Childhood

Whether you played the games, watched the show, collected the cards or all of the above, you dreamt of the day that you would be able to catch Pokémon in real life. During long car rides you envisioned a flock of Pidgeys flying high in the sky above wild Ponyta roaming the plains alongside the highway. The Pokémon may still be trapped in your phone, but to see them in real world locations recreates your five-year-old fantasy. “[The game] is more than just an app to a lot of us. This is a dream come true,” said FIU sophomore Frank De La Oliva.

Cons

Dangers Lurk Around Every Corner

As you probably heard, playing Pokémon Go can be dangerous. Recently, two men playing the game were unaware of their surroundings and fell off the side of a cliff in California. Another instance occurred when a girl found a dead body while playing the game. PSA: Please be careful. Always be aware of your location at all times and keep your eyes open. You shouldn’t be playing while driving or while crossing the street. Don’t risk your life for a 10cp Pikachu.

Destroys Phone Battery and Data

While you run around throwing your Poke-balls all willy-nilly, your phone works double time to run the app, which rolls a game, camera and GPS into one. Your phone’s battery will die in a maximum allotted time of three hours. Say goodbye to tweeting on the go, because the GPS feature of the game eats your data plan alive. Lucky for you T-Mobile users, you get unlimited data while using Pokémon Go. Unfortunately for the rest of us, we’ll carry around portable chargers and Wi-Fi hotspots everywhere which can cost college students an arm and a leg. But screw it, who needs to eat for a week when you can go Pokémon hunting for three days straight?

Big Cities get Preferential Treatment

Large cities like New York and Miami Beach get preferential treatment compared to smaller towns like Buford, Wyoming in Pokémon Go. Because of an abundance of cellular towers in urban areas and more spots of local importance, popular cities attract more rare Pokémon. However, being home for the summer means that you’re most likely back in your small town, drowning in Rattatas and out of Poke-Balls. Until an update comes out that balances the occurrence for rare Pokémon across the globe, try to level up until you head back to college and find a Poke-Stop every two meters away from you.

The Addiction is Real…Very, Very Real

You won’t sleep. You won’t eat. You won’t think about anything else other than chasing down all the local Eevee. I spent nights as a child wishing the day would come where we could catch Pokémon in real life. Well the day arrived, and we can’t stop exploring every nook and cranny, trying to make our starter stronger than our rivals’ and connecting with everyone along the way. Two weeks in and riddled with bugs (pun intended), Pokémon Go can only go up from this point. Just wait until second gen, when trading and battling become implemented. Then you can say goodbye to your grades, bae and everything else that occupied what little time you had. “Yeah I’m pretty sure I haven’t been home in like two weeks. I should probably call my mom and let her know I’m ok,” said Florida State University senior Manuel Garaboa.

Brandon is a Junior at Florida State University studying Editing, Writing and Media. He can be found raving about his fantasy football team that came in second place last season or eating something chicken related.

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