While working in our offices this week, one of our interns exclaimed: "There's a “Weedle” on your desk!" I jumped from my seat in shock, closely inspecting my desk for whatever was on it. Then, I realized I had no idea what I was looking for. I turned to our intern and puzzledly asked, “What the heck is a Weedle and what is IT doing on MY desk?” After clearing a few things up, our intern showed everyone in the office that they were able to see the little creature through their smart phone. I could not believe it. Welcome to augmented reality. Welcome to a world of Pokémon Go.
It turns out, one of the most popular 90s video games has been reworked to get players out of their homes and into the streets to relive their childhood memories and dive into an upgraded game that combines 1990s popularity with 2016 technology. So, what are Pokémon, and why are we talking about video games in a fitness blog?
To get you up to speed, “Pokémon,” short for “Pocket Monsters,” are virtual creatures that the player of the game catches, trains and does battles with other player’s Pokémon. Now, what makes Pokémon Go SO interesting is that it uses the user’s phone GPS to reveal virtual augmented reality Pokémon based on their real world location. This allows the player to play the game to feel they are in the game. But here is the kicker—they have to leave the house. Players are tasked to leave the comfort of their home and embark on a sort of scavenger hunt to catch these digital creatures.
Not only does the player have to leave their house to “catch” all of these interesting critters, but Pokémon Go also encourages the player to walk long distances, offering rewards through in-game items and more Pokémon. The game encourages the player to talk to other players in real life and form teams and walk outside with them all while collecting, capturing and training their favorite Pokémon.
Activity in Disguise
Now don’t get us wrong, we love activity, but what do we love more than activity? Exercise without even noticing it!
Playing Pokémon Go helps burn calories by offering rewards, points and challenges for reaching milestones or goals. Having these types of incentives throughout the gaming experience makes Pokémon Go addictive, fun and allows the player to get some light cardio in. Pokémon Go is allowing kids (and adults) to ditch the isolation of laptops and tablets and step outside for an adventure together.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a parent, spouse, friend of a friend--get involved! Download the game. It’s simple and easy to play. Go for a walk with your kids, your friends, or by yourself. Trust us, there is no shame in this game—thousands of players are out exploring. It gives one more reason to get active and get out the house. Pokémon Go hides the active nature of the game through competition. You’re getting steps in, walking miles to capture a Pokémon or reach a milestone of activity.
You could even think of it this way, you’re catching the Pokémon while losing the weight! Sounds like a win-win situation to us.
Compared To Other Active Games
We have seen this type of activity long before Pokémon Go. Exercise through video games is no foreign concept. Video games like Wii Sports and other motion capture games have been a popular commodity for those who wish to get physically involved with the games they play. What sets Pokémon Go apart from other games is that it takes these concepts of movement and pushes it out of the living room and into the streets. It integrates friendly competition by separating players into teams to see who has traveled the furthest and who has trained the strongest Pokémon. Players get support from their teammates and experience competition from their opponents while playing.
This type of friendly competition can be compared to that of the Fitbit or any other online enhanced stepometer. The idea of competing with friends to see how many steps is fun, interactive and social. The game allows the player to be thrown into this augmented reality and feel like the game is happening before their eyes. They actually see these creatures through their phones and better yet, they get to collect and gain points for capturing them.
We encourage everyone to find new and fun ways to get active in without calling it “exercise.” If you’re not a fan of the Pokémon franchise--that’s okay! We simply love encouragement through fun and interactive games. Browse your app store and find games that encourage you to get up, out and away from the couch! Games help you get activity in without dreading being active. At Shefit, we applaud any idea that supports activity - especially for those who may not otherwise consider being active. We encourage everyone to find something in their life that helps them get up, get out and get moving. It doesn’t matter if it is an app, a video game or [something a bit more low-tech]. What are you waiting for? Don’t just be your best, as Pokémon fans say: Be the best there ever was.