Greetings fellow travelers. We here at The NYRD have been out on the road, seeing sights, looking for adventure, and trying to catch ’em all. Yes, we’re talking about Pokémon, because much like the rest of the country we have also been caught up in the craze of Pokémon Go, but unlike the rest of the country we thought our road trip across America would be a good opportunity to really explore the limits of this new augmented reality game that has very quickly revolutionized how ew think of phone games.
I Choose You
Just two days after the games release in the USA the newest Pokémon game had already been installed by more than 5% of Android users. That may not sound like much but consider that means it was installed on more phones than Tinder, and people didn’t just let it sit there either. Over 60% of people who downloaded the app have continued to use it daily. It has about the same daily usage as Twitter, and the numbers are still going up. The average use time per day is about 43 minutes, which is more than the average person used Instagram, SnapChap, or visits The NYRD. Thanks to the massive release, Nintendo’s stock has surged 20% and it gave the game company its best day on the stock market since 1983, which was before most of our staff was even born.
However, there are some downsides. There have been plenty of humorous stories of people who were too busy trying to catch their eighth Pidgey to pay attention to where they were walking. Some people have fallen off cliffs, fallen into water, and one even caused a very serious car acciden, though there is some debate over that. In fact, more than once on our journey across this nation we had to stop Todd from walking into a building or large southern men who, “don’t take too kindly to yankee types,” which is absurd because we don’t even follow baseball.
Despite all the bad press the game is getting it is worth mentioning that Pokémon Go is the popularization of something new in our society. It is a game that encourages people to get out of their homes and interact with the environment, even if part of the environment is digital. The app is making kids walk and run and explore the world we live in. It is no coincidenc that there are PokeStops at all significant and historic locations in almost every area of the country, and trust us we know. The game even changes what Pokemon a person can find based upon the time of day and the area someone is in.
What the Psyduck?
Of course, in our own adventures we have encountered a lot of different pokemon. Unfortunately, we can’t really answer the question you are probably asking? Do you catch special pokemon in historic or significant locations? Well, we never came across any legendary ones, but we definitely encountered high level and more exotic pokemon in certain areas, such as Niagara Falls -which by the way offers free wifi on the American side- We cannot say for certainty that going to national parks or similar sites will net you anything that you can really show off to your friends. Yet, we still recommend you go all the same, because these are just cool sites to visit.
We can tell you however, that playing Pokémon Go alongside the Mississipi River or through the streets of Chicago or even in the parking lot of some roadside motel that we happen to be staying definitely enhances the experience. It is also a great way to meet people. We have not visited a single city or even café yet where we have not overheard people comparing their pokedex or talking about where they found this Evee, or why Team Instinct is the worst. Bumping into people with their head buried in their phones is very common these days and it makes it very easy to start conversations.
“Hey did you see that Zubat over there?”
“No, do you want to be best friends forever?”
See how easy that was, but we have also noticed that Pokémon Go is doing more than just enhancing personal relationships or personal waistlines. A lot of businesses are getting in on the action. It has not been uncommon in our travels to find businesses that are regularly putting down lure to draw in Pokémon and paying customers. There is even a story about police using Pokémon lures to catch fugitives, which is pretty awesome. However, the technique works particularly well in cafes or other business where people can sip their coffee, chat with friends, and enslave poor defenseless creatures in a case the size of a baseball. Its basically a win-win for everyone, except that poor Pikachu that got nabbed by the cops for all those unpaid parking tickets.
A Magikarp Ride
Really, we just want to report that the state of the Pokemon Union is strong. People all over the country are mindlessly wandering around state parks and into traffic. We know that this is not the first AR or environment interaction game, lest we forget geocaching. Ultimately, we believe that this newest use of crude but effective augmented reality is a step in the right direction. The best part is that the game will only keep growing with the possibilities of new Pokémon, trainer battles, and a slew of other possibilities. At the very least, Pokémon Go is getting people active again and interacting with the world and each other in new and previously unthought-of ways.
Also there is nothing so unifying as being a bunch of thirty year old adults excitedly squealing over finding a Squirtle, and then rubbing it into face of a group of twelve year olds. Truly, we live in a magical time.
Until next time, keep watching our adventures on SnapChat at thenyrd.