A couple weeks ago at Sun Peaks, my weekend and general getaway, I was watching a friend, Richard, play Pokemon Go. He’s got a decade plus on me, and while I don’t have an aversion to gaming, Pokemon Go hasn’t quite drawn me in… yet. Anyway, my son at the tender age of 9 and Richard who’s in his early 60s subsequently had a good long conversation about Pokemon Go and all sorts of things about the various Pokemon. It was quite intriguing to watch from the outside as they talked about the various characters, their powers, etc. Their 50+ age difference was completely irrelevant – their shared passion and interest was key.
So, I did a little Googling – I’m more of a sleuth than a gamer in honesty – and see
that the cultural phenomenon of Pokemon Go is beginning to be dissected and it has been in the news a number of times. For example, I had heard last year that there were news warnings about the danger of accidents and I’m sure that some traffic patterns and general behavior has changed for many.
I can’t help but think that this new augmented reality game is just the beginning of what will be a powerful wave of games and such wherein virtual objects appear like they are in the real world. Players interact with the objects and characters in the game, players may get a short term boost of exercise (better than the opposite) , but what about real social interaction with the world, and of course, importantly, people around them.
Watching my son, who hasn’t played Pokemon Go – he doesn’t have a cell (yet!), but knows the Pokemon world inside out, talk about it though, offered a different view into social elements that gaming offer – it wasn’t the playing of the game, but the shared enthusiasm and excitement of the characters and the quest that generated social interaction.
This is a very preliminary thoughts on this, and I suspect it will get mulled, twisted and turned in my head in the coming weeks, eventually leading to some clearer ideas. It’s gotta percolate for a while. I’m not sure where it’s going, but there are some interesting questions on time, space, reality, sociolinguistics, learning (or not), interactions and more.