The new Pokemon game is quite addicting, from older teens, through young adults, children, and even middle aged and older adults, just about everyone is playing it. Some get more addicted than others.
The original Pokemon came out about twenty-some years ago, and it was an instant hit with kids. They were collecting Pokemon cards, playing the new game, watching the show. Although the game’s popularity faded, it has still been around all these years, some of the kids still played it as they were getting older.
With the new app, the developers managed to get the video-game-player crowd outside and moving, bring the virtual reality into real life, bring different generations together. You see young kids, their parents, college students and high schoolers, all talk to each other as they walk and notice that they all play the same game.
The Pokemon characters are cute, and they pop up just about everywhere, from your own house to malls, and other public places. Maps of where to find them are all over the Internet, Pokestops are everywhere, as well as Gyms, where you can battle other Pokemon if you reached a high enough level.
While you can certainly find lots of Pokemon in your own backyard, so to speak, or in your own hometown, there is a definite advantage if you travel and try to catch a few during your trips.
There are specific Pokemon that live in certain areas, as these cute virtual creatures differ by their habitat. You’ll find Urban Pokemon in big cities, it’s easier to find Forest Pokemon in forested areas, of course, and Sea Pokemon on the beach. Cave Pokemon and Mountain Pokemon have their own habitat as well, just as Water’s Edge and Grassland Pokemon. Some are very common, and you’ll be able to find them anywhere, but a few are rare and only pop up in their own habitat.
I you want to hike with your young kids, it might help to let them open the app and try to catch a new Pokemon on the trail. If they have an egg, it will really get them motivated to hike, since walking is the only way to hatch them, from 2 km up to 5 km and longer.
They may see a museum on their Pokemon map they want to visit, that otherwise you would have trouble taking them to. Let them catch the Pokemon in those places, just make sure they close the app after they got them. It keeps their battery from dying too soon, and gets them to look around and actually enjoy the place they ended up visiting thanks to the Pokestop or Pokemon Gym they saw on the map. They will learn about the different environments as they catch Pokemon living in different areas.
It might not be the very best way to see the world, through a tiny phone screen. But if you do it right, the screen and the virtual creature is just a first step towards learning about new places, new environments.
If you travel this summer, open you Pokemon app ocassionally (although never play while driving, and always be aware of your surroundings). You might just catch something unique that your friends at home don’t have yet, while learning about the place your new Pokemon calls its “habitat”, even if it is just a virtual creature. I have to admit, most of them are really cute, but don’t forget to look around and enjoy the real creatures around you, people, animals and plants alike. Chances are, they are even more amazing than your new virtual friends.
Emese Fromm is a writer/translator whose work has appeared in publications like Parachute by Mapquest, Travel Thru History, Travellady, Skipping Stones, InTravel Magazines, among others. She specializes in travel, but writes about a variety of topics.