The Pokemon GO Effect

This widely popular augmented reality game was finally launched in Singapore last weekend, rather quietly, I would say, after much anticipation. Like many others, I waited with bated breath while coming across article after article of accidents occurring all over the world due to the game, or rather the gamers getting distracted by it. One camp of people have decided against trying the game at all even before it landed on our shores.

I belong to the other camp. Let’s just say my curiosity got the better of me. And it really takes a lot to rouse my curiosity for a game, because I am no gamer. After 5 days of playing it, I am ready to declare that it is fun! I enjoy the collecting, but I have not gone to battles at any of the gyms. That part of the game, I don’t particularly enjoy.

A cursory scroll through my FB feed tells me that many of my peers are put off by the strange phenomenon brought about by the game. People gather around poke-stops in masses, and the public parks have never been this crowded. They think it is retarded, herd instinct. They are entitled to their own opinion.

And I am entitled to mine. I won’t comment for the others, but this game has brought about some positive changes to my household. H has noticed that I am much more willing to go out with him just so that I drive and he can catch some pokemon on both our behalf. And for the past 2 nights, Belle has gone on very long walks with us, so much so that I predict she will very soon hesitate to go on walks with us. Considering how sedentary my lifestyle is, this is indeed a very good change. For how long, we won’t know but for now, it’s good.

H and I have noticed that it can actually be very safe to play this game. I don’t know how people can walk onto the roads, or fall into rivers just to catch a pokemon. Once one is captured on your screen, you can move to a safer place to capture it. This is tried and tested. I always move to the side of the paths in the park or up the curb to capture the cute little monsters when I spot them because 1) I don’t to be in the way and 2) I don’t want oblivious pokemon catchers to bump into me (that really happened).

This game has done what nobody has been able to achieve in Singapore – to encourage us to lead a more active lifestyle. Never mind that it won’t last forever; for as long as it lasts, we are all reaping the benefits. I wish the naysayers will get down off their high horses and view this more objectively. But well… like I’ve said, everyone is entitled to their opinion.

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