They’re all around you.
They’re in the park, at the library, your local bar, even in your own backyard.
And you can’t even see them.
That is, unless you have a smart phone and a particular pocket monster hunting app.
I’m talking, of course, about Pokemon Go, the game currently taking the entire world by storm.
For those living under a rock locked inside a nuclear shelter at the bottom of the sea, Pokemon Go is a new game unlike any other. The app allows you to catch virtual Pokemon creatures located in the real world around you.
It utilizes a technology called augmented reality, which essentially blends a real-world environment with a digital one.
Snapchat was the first to bring this tech to the masses, with their cute filters that alter your face into some ridiculous, fun, and shareable concoctions.
It’s not the first time it has been used in a mobile game either, but it is definitely the most effective and enjoyable one to date.
The proof of this can be found in the insane amount of people who have downloaded it already, and the amount of time they are playing it.
In just one week, Pokemon Go has surpassed the biggest mobile platforms and social networks in the world.
People spend more time on Pokemon Go than on Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and flipping Facebook.
What’s driving this rabid fandom?
Pokemon Go fosters unity, not isolation
For the past decade or so, we’ve slowly become more isolated to the world around us.
We live in an unprecedented age of information, all searchable in real-time. We have an endless supply of social apps that enable us to communicate with people from anywhere in the world.
We’ve seen myriads of mobile games come and go. Swiping candy, laying siege to ancient cities, helping a bird fly through different size pillars (seriously, how was that a thing), we receive a trendy new distraction almost weekly at this point.
All of these apps and platforms were created around the premise of being more “social”. To allow us to connect with the people we care about.
But they are really built to keep us glued to our own personal device. Before we know it, we’ve typed, swiped, and scrolled through our entire day.
We’ve completely isolated ourselves from the world, and people, around us.
Pokemon Go is different.
Using tech to connect in the real-world
The beauty of this game, and augmented reality as a whole, is that the tech doesn’t remove the human component, it compliments it.
Pokemon Go uses tech to enhance the world around you, not replace it. It fosters genuine human interaction by having its users converge on real-world locations to meet and play.
Everything in the game requires you to step outside your front door and explore the world around you.
Pokemon can only be caught by searching your city and discovering them, they can only be trained by visiting Gyms located in large public squares, and they can only upgrade through battling other people’s Pokemon, who themselves need to be standing right in front of you.
The haters will say that this is just another example of young people being out of touch and removed from reality. They’ll claim it as validation that millennials are self-absorbed and consumed with finding ways to waste their time.
This game proves the opposite.
Pokemon Go arrived at a time when we are craving genuine human interaction more than ever before. Our lives are oversaturated with perfectly presented and polished lies from people we barely know.
Pokemon Go, as silly as it sounds, is bringing out the best qualities in humanity. It’s a great reminder that with all of the talk of automation, robots, and virtual reality, the best experiences are still the ones that involve our fellow humans.