I Played Pokémon GO for One Week and This is What Happened

Aug 5, 2016Health & Nutrition, Reflections

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past several weeks, you have probably noticed groups of Pokémon GO players wandering around the city resembling this:.
The excitement of finding Pokémon in real spaces has caused some players to wander onto busy roads without *gasp* watching out for traffic. Now I’m all about safety for oneself and others, in addition to unplugging from our electronic devices from time to time especially when our world is already saturated with them. And I have published ways to stay active in our increasingly tech savvy workplace. Love it or hate it, Pokémon GO has made an impact on Millennials, creating accessibility to this phenomenon known as augmented reality. AR technology, which I know of through academic research being conducted has now made its way towards mainstream popularity due to games like Pokémon GO. Now as someone who discovered Pokémon after the animated…
series on YTV back in the late 1990s, my inner nerd and love for these “Pocket Monsters” was rehashed on announcement of Pokémon GO released in Canada. Better yet, it was FREE!


My customized Pokémon Avatar.
( On Side Note: Although I call myself “Popple Queen”, there is only one Queen I actually believe in. I don’t take myself too seriously ;D )


It was great to see some of my favourite Pokémon from my childhood appear again. But even better was seeing Pokémon in “real life!” Walking my dog just got more exciting. With Pokémon around us and stops where we could collect more Pokéballs and trainer items, dog walks just got 10000x more fun.



A new friend?
Perhaps what has become most exciting, was receiving eggs at the Pokémon stops. Eggs are unhatched Pokémon, you never know what you’re gonna get! It was Kinder Surprise toys one again. except this time you get a Pokémon!


But here was the catch: Each one of these eggs could only be hatched once I had walked 2 or 5 kilometres. The kilometres walked reflect the incubation time needed for the eggs to be ready. Wait. I have to walk 5k?!? Riding in the car does not cheat the system either. The GPS tracker in the game knows when you are moving a certain speed where you are not using your feet/bicycle/scooter to get around, and will not track the distance to hatch the eggs:



2 eggs in an incubator. Only 1.9km to go to see what I got!
When you have walked or biked the appropriate distance of 2 or 5 km, the eggs will hatch and reveal your NEW Pokémon. Similar to geocaching (like treasure hunting or scavenger hunts), the game knows where Pokémon stops or landmarks are, except instead of collecting caches we are collecting Pokémon.


So after playing Pokémon GO for one week, I noticed a few things. After walking 10km, I received a medal from the game saying “Congratulations, you have walked 10km!” If only there was a way to reward clients this way for doing exercise, right?



Another thing that happened was noticing the amount of people interacting in public places. Now as a Toronto native, this was something a bit strange to me, because it rarely happens. Groups of players asking others about tips and tricks in catching Pokémon. A young man on a bicycle in my neighbourhood pointed out to me a Pokémon nearby, to which I whipped out my phone and caught it. Yay, we both win!


Observing what Pokémon GO has done for players has been interesting for me as a health professional because of the miraculous (and ironic) way this video game has gotten people outdoors and moving. This is considering the fact that less than 7% of children and youth meet the guideline of 60 minutes of physical activity per day, 6 days a week (Statistics Canada, 2009). And those who were once too self-conscious to get outside and move now have something to take the focus away from the self, turning attention to catching these little pocket monsters, as reported by The Guardian. And better yet, despite all the criticism about the danger of not being aware of your surroundings when playing the game, I am all about being smart about things. There is a reason why there is a warning that comes about personal safety as the game loads. Don’t be an idiot. A Pokémon is not worth your life!

But perhaps most importantly, I find the game fun. Everyone likes to have fun, right?

Because of the high amount of battery life this game uses, carrying around a portable phone charger proved to be useful for me. As I continue to play the game, I look forward to seeing what new Pokémon I will find to add to my collection. For readers, if you have found a Growlith, Ponyta and or a Lapras, leave me a comment and tell me where and how you caught it!

Have you tried Pokémon GO? What are your thoughts on it? Leave me a comment below!

Meet Michelle

Welcome, I'm Michelle! I'm a TV and digital media registered dietitian and Asian cuisine content creator based out of Hamilton, ON Canada!


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