I always say my dad is 80-something years young. He’s amazing, brilliant, wicked quick wit and always intensely curious and interested in the world around him, be it technology, people, current events, you name it! To help him feel involved and part of what I’m doing, I regularly share whatever it is I’m up to, be it learning to shoot 360 video and sharing with him via Google Cardboard or the latest in Puget Sound Conservation or whatever randomness catches our fancy on grocery and hanging out day. A couple weeks ago that randomness happened to be Pokemon Go! He’d heard his neighbors talking about it, and didn’t have the faintest idea so I promptly realized it was my daughterly duty to bring him up to speed. I had not yet downloaded or played Pokemon Go, so he and I got to experience the ‘beginning’ together. Before that though, I opted to show him a little bit about Augmented Reality, by way of a few different apps on the iPhone, including Layers, Butterflies (that land on your finger if you touch the screen) and Puppies, an AR app that features a pack of puppies running around your living room, jumping on your feet and climbing on chairs etc. (we are saving that for another post)
The following is his impression of Pokemon Go! The last bit is the really important part…
Last week my daughter told me about the Pokemon Go movement, and showed me games on her iPhone. My first reaction was along clinical lines. Hearing about people walking 6-8 miles in search of Pokemon, I thought “How healthy! Maybe this will reverse the obesity epidemic we’re struggling with in this country.
Hearing about the crowds of enthusiastic players in the streets and parks, I thought – very therapeutic! Surrounded by like minded crowds gives one a feeling of security and lessened vulnerability – there are people who may support and protect me. Friends who’ve been overseas and visited small villages describe the contentment they see there, of people constantly surrounded by family and friends. A remedy for the loneliness of modern life. And hearing about the Pokemons being placed around or near community artwork made me think: people will learn that nature and art are all around them. As a source of sustenance and comfort relationships come and go, and have their ups and downs, but the beauty of the environment is always there to draw on in down times.
Then I also had a more personal response. Recently I’ve felt a disconnect with this generation and its popular culture. I watch the music videos and award shows and the dancing seems forced and the tunes repetitious. They don’t resonate with me. I have the feeling of a noisy crowd hurrying towards the horizon while I struggle to catch up, falling further and further behind. But immersed in the Pokemon go game, with maps, my daughters avatar, an egg hatching into a furry fox like creature, I suddenly felt part of it all – part of the noisy fun loving crowd, and not left behind at all. For the moment I was part of it and that was definitely a good feeling.