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Pokémon Go or Pokémon No?

July 20, 2016

written by Erin Diaz

After seeing that Liberty University’s Instagram account posted a photo about our campus having plenty of room to catch Pokémon (and the 2,300+ likes on the photo), it is impossible to ignore the impact this game has taken as of late. And our 7,000-acre campus isn’t the only place booming with the excitement of little virtual creatures; in just a couple weeks, Pokémon Go has made an impact on places and people all over the world. Like every global trend, there are many advocates as well as nay-sayers, and this game has no lack on either side. In order to make a fully developed opinion on the game and what it means to indulge in playing it, it is important to look at both sides, taking into consideration everything Pokémon Go has created over the past week or so.

When it comes to the downsides of the game, you may have heard about the armed robbery in Missouri last week, where “Armed robbers used the game Pokémon Go to lure victims to an isolated trap.” You may also know about the complaints from places such as the Holocaust Museum, Arlington Cemetery, and Ground Zero due to the lack of respect the game represents on their honorable grounds. And these are factors that cannot be argued with – these instances and situations are uncalculated misuses of the game.

Yet, there is some good coming from the game as well. Vox recently published an article titled “Pokémon Go May be the Greatest Unintentional Health Fad Ever”. Whether or not this statement is true, there is undoubtedly an increase in exercise from our fellow Pokemon-playing US citizens over the past couple of weeks. Vox’s article includes tweets stating “Co-worker walked 7 miles on Saturday to catch Pokémon” and “Just walked at least 8km in the past 3 hours”. The game is definitely getting people on their feet, which is inarguably a positive feature.

So what can we conclude? With the facts in front of us (whether positive or negative), perhaps the best way to use the game is just like with anything else – in moderation. Whether the Pokémon creatures become your friends (that you can have a good time with but are also okay being away from for a little while) or your ultimate foes (that become your only focus) is really up to you.

Aside from whether or not it is beneficial to people, there is no argument that the game is ingenious – it combines nostalgia and our modern-day detachable devices, creating the perfect mixture for excitement and worldwide buzz. And in our society of needing to be ahead of everyone else, it promotes the kind of competitiveness that is causing people to go outside much more than they may have before. Therefore, there isn’t really an objective answer to the question: Is this a “good” game or not? The answer is different for everyone, and if the game is being used simply as a game and it isn’t taking over your life, then hey, go for it!

Yet, the question that remains is: Is it possible to play the game without it taking over your life?