Trending Topics: Is Pokemon Go Gamifying our lives?

Thursday 21st July 2016

Isn’t it annoying when you’re out with your mates and one wrong’un is glued to their phone?

Luckily, with the release of Pokemon Go, that won’t be a problem as now we are all glued to catching, training and battling the virtual critters.

Although it started as an April Fools joke 2 years ago, the game has taken the world by storm since being released. Pokemon Go has taken 10 days to reach the same amount of users Twitter has accumulated in 10 years and its parent company, Nintendo has increased it’s share price by a massive 35%.

Pokemon Go is breaking new ground as far as popular gaming technology goes.  No longer stuck to the sofa, players have to go out and about to hunt for Pikachus, Polywraths and Porygons.

Parks, train stations and squares are full of people out enjoying the game and the sunshine. I downloaded the game on Thursday and spent that evening in the park. I walked 5km in the time I would have spent vegging out in front of my TV. (I know this because the egg I had to walk 5km to hatch produced a Tentacool, which I named Andy.) 

Local areas are revealed to you when you reach new gyms and Pokestops at local landmarks. If you’ve never visited a Young Greenwich Youth Hub, all four of them are gyms (or have them very nearby) for instance.

The game has successfully blended all the most exciting parts of mobile technology and social media into an irresistible mix.

The step-tracking of Fitbit, the GPS element of Tinder and the tweeness of something like Farmville are all mixed into Pokemon Go.

But why do we feel the need to gamify our lives? We do we have to put simple, shareable goals on everyday activity like having a walk and then using it to cultivate an online profile that advertises our lives like a product?

And then there are the dodgy and dangerous aspects of Pokemon Go…

Perhaps the social element isn’t all its cracked up to be. My girlfriend got in a massive hump when I caught two Squirtles (her favourite), but they kept running away from her.

I also found myself hanging outside a parade of shops after dark with a group of strangers just because there was a ‘lure’ there. That felt a bit wrong.

That’s before you get all the stories of robbery and accidents as people are isolated, alone or not looking where they’re going.

That being said, you can’t really blame a game if anyone doesn’t have the sense to not walk into a pond or mind where they are going late at night. The media will always want to pounce upon the dangers of any youth phenomenon they don’t understand.

Although many people are playing the game, is it enough to break the ice with strangers? Are people becoming more sociable because of it?

Do you agree? What are your experiences? Join the debate on the Young Greenwich Facebook page>>>

  • Are advances in gaming bringing us together?
  • Why do we need a game to get us to go outside?
  • Is Pokemon Go dangerous? 

In the mean time, you can visit our youth hubs and try and take over the gyms there.

Avery Hill = Team Valor

Valley Central = Team Instinct

Hawksmoor = Team Mystic

Woolwich Common = Team Mystic