It was a dark summer night. I was walking back home, passing by Lamoureux park, when I noticed the area was busier than usual. It was certainly passed midnight, yet children and parents were clearly engaging in some sort of game.
I could see the glowing lights of probably 35 cell phones in the night.
It took me a while, but I finally realized theses peeps, young and old, were out chasing Pokémon!
After finding out the game wasn’t available yet in Canada, I set out to find a way to get it installed on my phone anyway. From my research, there was two ways to accomplish this: either by tricking my phone into believing it was in the United States or by finding an APK file to download. The latter seemed more simple.
Now I have to give you fair warning. Downloading any file that is not directly from the Play Store on an Android can lead to some issues. These files can contain malware and give third parties access to any information your phone contains, including credit card numbers, addresses and contacts, so it is probably safer to find a way to mask your IP to download directly from the Play Store.
But I don’t always do what I preach, so with some hesitation, I downloaded the APK, installed it and asked my kids if they wanted to go take a walk and see what this game was all about.
What happened next totally caught me by surprise. Through my phone, a window into a virtual augmented world was opened. Suddenly, I could see, right in front of me, familiar creatures that for years had only been visible in 2D through a video game console my sons were playing . With the camera on my phone they were now still in 2D, but part of 3D world. With this magical portable mobile device, I could be a real life Pokémon trainer and catch them all myself! All I needed to do is GO! GO walk on the streets of my city, GO visit PokéStops (points of interest) to replenish my virtual bag of items, GO to the virtual gym where I could take on other real life Pokémon trainers in Pokémon battles.
I was instantly hooked. I know. This may sound peculiarly strange coming from a 45 year old professional woman.
But here’s what’s good about it.
One, it gets me to spend more time with my kids, doing silly stuff. It triggers their imagination. When we go on our walks, we’re not us; we’re wild Pokémon trainers, skilled and wise. We encounter various creatures that are sometimes cute and harmless, sometimes scary and powerful. Next thing you know, we’re all down, rolling in the grass, fighting off virtual Rattatas or Pidgeys.
Two, it gets me moving. If you know me, you know that I hate exercising with a passion. I don’t like walking, let alone running. I don’t like exerting myself. I know it’s bad for me, but I can’t seem to get myself out of my computer chair unless totally necessary. With this game, over the last 3 days, I found myself looking at the phone for ruffling leaves—which is what tells you a Pokémon is near—then taking off to go catch it. This could be one or two blocks away, but I go without even thinking about it. Childish, I know, but it works!
Three, it really takes my mind off things. This in turns reduces my stress and energizes me. The satisfaction you get when you capture a wild, rare, Pokémon can really do wonders for your morale!
So before you judge and dismiss the game as something only a 10 year old would enjoy, why not give it a try? You may find it entertaining and rejuvenating!
A FEW TIPS:
Always be safe. Do not drive and hunt. Always be aware of your surroundings. Do not trespass.
In Cornwall, Lamoureux Park is where it’s at. You can find several PokéStops in that area. At PokéStops, you will find items such as PokéBalls, eggs and potions.
If you go to a big city, check for new Pokémon. They’re literally crawling with them.
And please, if you are a Pokémon trainer and can give me tips, leave them below!!! By the way, I’m seekerchick on team yellow!
The game is now available in Canada. You can safely download it from the Play Store.