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Absolutely brilliant. I wish I invented Pokémon Go and not because of the fame and fortune, though that would be nice, too. I just wish I created the perfect way to meet people after moving to a new city. As someone new in town, you couldn’t ask for more. It doesn’t matter if you’re single, married, young or young at heart, download the Pokémon Go app. I’m not a gamer and it makes me cringe when my kids play video games on a beautiful day. Even still, I highly recommend playing Pokémon Go so you can learn about your new neighborhood and meet people along the way.
What is Pokémon Go?
By this point, you’ve probably heard about Pokémon Go. It’s a new app that lets you explore the real world looking for virtual creatures called Pokémon. Within 20 days of its July 6th release, Pokémon Go was downloaded more than 75 million times.[i] The point of Pokémon Go is to walk around outside while you try to capture Pokémon on your phone. It’s like a scavenger hunt with a mini game waiting for you at each checkpoint. Once you arrive at your destination, you tap the screen and use Poké Balls to capture the Pokémon. Then, you look at the map to see where the next Pokémon is hiding.
Do I Really Need to Know The Details?
It depends who you ask. If you want to get the full gaming experience, then it’s always good to read the rules. You can learn more about the game by checking out these websites since the app doesn’t give you a whole lot of direction. Being someone who isn’t into video games, I just wanted to try it out with my family. We downloaded the app and headed right outside. I thought my kids knew enough to somehow figure it out. Without any knowledge of how it worked, we were still able to find a PokéStop (i.e. a special place in our neighborhood) and play with Poké Balls to capture the Pokémon.
Scouting Out Your Neighborhood
When you move somewhere new, it’s important to get to know your neighborhood and your city right away. Ultimately, a greater connection with your city will increase your happiness. It’s so easy to fall into a routine where you don’t explore and then you don’t get to know your city until someone visits you. I know how tempting it is to slip into PJs after work and watch Law & Order reruns, but it’s important to get out there. Now with Pokémon Go, you have no excuses. It’s free and all you need to do is step out the front door and start walking.
You will discover things and places with Pokémon Go that you may not notice if you walked around the neighborhood on your own. My family downloaded the app and we started searching for Pokémon. Within a block of our house, we found a memorial tree we had never looked at before. A few minutes later, we discovered a hidden statue for the first time. We’re not new in the neighborhood. We’ve lived here for several years now, but we only appreciated these things after Pokémon Go led us on a Pokémon hunt.
Meeting People with Pokémon Go
Some attribute Pokémon Go’s success to its simplicity. You search, find, play, and repeat. Others attribute its success to the social element. Unlike other apps where you speak to each other online, the only way to communicate with other players is in person. We were standing by the memorial tree as someone biked by, phone in hand. We asked him, “Are you looking for the memorial tree?” He’d already found that one, but it started up a conversation.
The best places to go to maximize your interaction with others are: tourist attractions, shopping centers, parks, museums, churches, historical landmarks, and college campuses.
When you move somewhere new, you put yourself out there in many different social situations. You’ll try to meet friends at work or at your kids’ school. You may reach out to others at the dog park or by getting involved in activities. The thing is, you never know when you will meet a new friend, so you need to make an effort everywhere you go. When you’re on a Pokémon Go hunt, it’s not awkward. Everyone is doing it. You can do it alone and it gives you easy and unique conversation starters. When you meet someone at a checkpoint, say “If you’re looking for the bench, it’s right over there.” or “I’m looking for the mourning statue, have you been there yet?” You never know where the conversation will lead.
Start Using Pokémon Go Today
We’re in prime moving season and there will be other new people in your area. It’s nice outside and Pokémon Go is all the rage right now. Who am I to question its longevity, but Pokémon Go may not be as popular several months from now. It doesn’t matter that you’ve never heard of Pokémon or that you would rather read a book at a park than play a game where you catch cartoon figures. Just give it a shot as an excuse to explore your neighborhood. Use the game as a tool to discover new places and as an opportunity to interact with others. You may even enjoy it.
References to Learn More About Pokémon Go
Ten Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Pokémon Go
Beginner’s guide: How to play Pokémon Go!