Pokemon: Going good or Going bad?

Taylor Bain and Jerry Denton Debate Pros & Cons of Pokemon GO

PRO: Pokemon GO Captures BMC Students - Taylor Bain

Pokémon GO is a popular free to play mobile game played by people around the world. The game has recently drawn negative media attention, but Blue Mountain College players continue to enjoy the game despite its flaws.

According to Google Play’s numbers, the game has been installed over 100,000,000 times since its release by Niantic Inc. in early July. The focus of the game is for users to capture imaginary monsters (Pokémon) on their mobile devices.

The Pokémon Company claims the app uses “Niantic’s Real World Gaming Platform” to generate Pokémon at various GPS locations. In other words, the game merges the virtual world with the real world.

The PokéStop system of the game, for example, requires players to travel to landmarks and historical locations in order to collect important supplies for the game. Lowrey Memorial Baptist Church, Guyton Library, and both entrances to the college are PokéStop locations. Players who level up enough in the game can eventually choose to join one of three teams: Mystic, Instinct, or Valor. These teams compete to gain control of various real-world locations also known as gyms.

BMC Pokémon GO player William Basil believes the developers of the game have worked out many of the server issues and app crashes that were initially present in the game. This is a positive aspect of the game because the customer’ opinions are respected by the developers, creating a sense of loyalty among their fan base. “They have done a nice job with the insane amount of traffic that has flooded the server and I can't wait for new Pokémon Go updates to be released!” said Basil, who has been playing the game long enough to see how Niantic has changed the game.

Pokémon GO also motivates players to walk by tracking how fast they are moving. This speed tracking system prevents players from simply driving from place to place to level up in the game. Walking allows players to hatch Pokémon from “eggs.”

“I sometimes spend $10 dollars a week to buy egg incubators that promote healthy habits such as walking or jogging. I logged 13 miles last week walking and hatching my eggs.” Basil said.

Pokémon GO is appealing to the mobile gaming community for a number of reasons, but its ability to bring people together is one of its most beneficial features. The game interfaces with locations in the real world, so it has actually helped players befriend people they would normally never associate with if the game did not exist. Pokémon’s team-based combat system is another feature of the game that promotes bonding.

BMC trainer (the term used in-game for a Pokémon Go player) Jeni Yang says there is an “understanding” among Pokémon Go trainers that encourages them to socialize and collaborate for the sake of the game. Relationships formed through the game can eventually lead to lasting friendships.

CON: Pokémon GO but know when to stop - Jerry Denton

There have been reports of dangerous behaviors associated with Pokémon GO such as distracted players getting robbed and children losing all sense of “stranger danger.” An example of the risks of such behavior would be when an Alabama man ventured into a deserted area while chasing a Pokémon and was robbed at gunpoint. The police were later able to track down his attackers.

A more unsettling example of such inattention would be when an Arizona couple was so engrossed in the game, that they left their 2 year old child alone at home and are now facing child endangerment charges. Even more frightening is the concern of kidnappers luring young children to secluded areas under the guise of Pokémon GO hotspots or “Pokestops.”

While these dangers are troubling, there are measures that can be taken to avoid them. First, the game should not be played alone. If a player is going to a certain location while pursuing a character in the game, they Google the area to ensure it is safe. Winning a video game is not worth risking one’s safety. Another solution is to play Pokémon GO in modify mode that causes the phone to vibrate when a Pokémon is near. That way, players can put down their phone when necessary. Concerned parents can protect their children by installing parental lock devices that enable them to see every detail of the game their child is playing. While Pokémon GO is not an extremely dangerous game, there are some dangers associated with the game that players should be aware of. If they take the needed precautions, players can continue to enjoy the game.

SOURCES

Lamagna, Maria. “Should you let your kids play ‘Pokémon GO’?” Market Watch.com. Web. 22 July. 2016. Market Watch. INC. 6 Oct. 2016.

Robertson, Andy. “5 Ways Families Can Avoid ‘Pokémon GO’ Dangers”. Forbes.com. Web. 18 Jul. 2016. Forbes Media. LLC. 6 Oct. 2016.

Rogers, James. “How ‘Pokémon GO’ is taking tech into dangerous uncharted waters”. Fox News.com. Web. 22 Jul. 2016. Fox News Network. LLC. 6 Oct. 2016.

“Is Pokémon GO Dangerous? Every crime, accident, death linked to game so far”. Syracuse.com. Web. 2016. Syracuse Media Group. 6 Oct. 2016.

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