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Pokémon GO Craze


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Pokémon GO logo, pokemon.com

Pokémon Go is the latest incarnation of a 20-year-old media franchise that started with the Nintendo Game Boy and mushroomed into movies, manga, cartoons, console games and even trading cards. Since the game’s American release July 6, it’s been downloaded onto millions of phones, with 21 million active users by July 12. But you don’t need stats to know how popular the game is – unless you’ve been on an internet cleanse for the past two weeks, you’ve heard plenty about it.

A media empire based on the concept of collecting “pocket monsters” seems a little silly, but money has been made on stranger things. In its current iteration, scorn seems to fall on those playing the game, particularly the adults. And aside from questions of maturity, there are legitimate safety concerns. Players have fallen off cliffs, driven into trees and walked into traffic, and tech bloggers have raised questions of data security.

But … maybe we needed this game. I don’t know a Pidgey from a Charizard, but in this hellish summer we’re all living through, this silly game is giving us a break from abominable push notifications and newsfeeds. Not to mention the fact that it’s getting people out into nature. A Pokémon Go event at Cranes Roost Park two weeks ago attracted more than 1,200 people – all to play a simple, silly game together. We couldn’t have asked for a sweeter reprieve, or a better reminder that we share so much.

 


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