I have no strong feelings about Pokémon. When my brother was younger, I took him to see the movies in the theaters, he collected the cards, and I would sometimes play the games with him on his GameBoy color. As he grew older, his interests changed, and Pokémon wasn’t something present in my life.
Fast-forward to summer of 2016. A new app is sweeping the world. It’s augmented reality. It’s nostalgic. It’s fun. I downloaded it because why not? I still don’t have any strong feelings about Pokémon but this app? I’m really enjoying it – so are a lot of other people.
Even the National Mall and Memorial Parks is getting in on the action.
Of course, not everyone is a fan – nor should they be. Just with any other game or pop culture phenomenon that happens, it doesn’t appeal to everyone. That’s the beauty of being individuals, and the beauty of social media: We get to pick and choose what we indulge in, which communities we decide to be active in, and what we ignore.
You don’t have to like PokémonGo and you’re free to express that on social media. The trend that’s been bothering me the most on social media isn’t my friends expressing their disinterest in this particular experience, it’s the way they’re doing it. One of the most common memes about PokémonGo implies that it’s for kids, and any adults who are indulging in it don’t have any responsibilities.
I’m a 31-year-old business owner with a full client load, a healthy relationship, who has an active social life – and guess what? I’m able to enjoy PokémonGo without it affecting my responsibilities.
As someone who’s struggling with depression and anxiety, it’s also been great for my mental health. There are days I struggle to get out of my apartment, and a game like PokémonGo gives me a purpose. I’ve also noticed that it’s made people in my community friendlier to each other. We notice others playing the game, and maybe, it gives us a reason to strike up a quick conversation or even just acknowledge each other’s presence.
I usually don’t feel the need to defend my decisions, but I’m also tired of the amount of negativity and judgment we impulsively release into the world around us. We don’t know the battles everyone else is fighting. We don’t know if a game like Pokémon had a pivotal influence in an individual’s life when they were growing up.
I’m not saying it’s a perfect app. I’m not saying it’s for everyone. I’m not even telling you to stop expressing your disinterest in it.
I’m just asking you to try and do it without being dismissive and condescending.
To my fellow PokémonGo players: Remember to be mindful of others around you, be safe, and be smart when playing the game.