BLOG: I choose you, Pokémon Go!

Katherine Ranzenberger
York Dispatch

I want to be the very best, like no one ever was!

A wild rattata sits on my friend's desk at her work in Florida. She's one of many of my friends currently obsessing with Pokemon Go.

But that's going to be extremely difficult with Pokémon Go if I don't get up off my butt and walk around a bit.

Pokémon GO is an augmented reality video game for Android and iPhone. This free app (with in-app purchases, of course) uses your location as you move around the area and search for Pokémon in your neighborhood and your city.

I am a millennial. I grew up with the Pokémon card game. I still have my original cards, including that amazing holographic Charizard card so many of my friends prized. When I was in summer latchkey, we watched the Pokémon TV show before lunch almost every day.

The first Pokémon video game was released in 1998 when I was in second grade. I remember sitting in my school cafeteria, watching my friends play Pokémon Blue and Pokémon Red on their berry and teal GameBoy Colors. I wasn't allowed to have video games.

Shoot, even five years ago today, I was wandering the halls in an Indianapolis convention center for a Pokémon tournament.

But the newest game is genius. It's The Pokémon Company's sneaky little way to get people to get off their booties and get outside.

I have seen so many news stories and blog posts about how "kids these days" don't go outside enough. They're stuck, sitting on the couch in front of the TV, playing their video games. They're getting fat and lazy, and it's all because of the prevalent video game culture.


I disagree. This is where Pokémon Go comes in.

My Facebook feed has gone wild with people playing the game. My friends are obsessed, running around their offices and cities on their lunch breaks, after work and on their day off, just so they can see where the wild Pokémon are, capture them and get more Pokéballs along the way.

One of my friends, who is a little less than active, said they'd walked 6,000 steps by 11:30 a.m. just trying to locate new Pokémon in Pokémon Go. A normal adult should walk around 10,000 steps in a day. And this friend wasn't even close to giving up yet.

The game forces you to go outside and explore. You have to look around for PokéStops and search for wild Pokémon to capture.

I know it sounds ridiculous, but this really could be a great way to get your less-than-active kids up and off the couch for part of the summer. The app can be downloaded on any smartphone or even an iPad or iPod.

It can be a competitive game between friends to find the most Pokémon in an hour or who can beat one of the gyms first. It can be a way to bond with your child, taking them out to the playground and spending the afternoon searching for a specific type or Pokémon.

It's an excuse to go outside and wander the community, finding others who are playing and battling them. It's an excuse to get to know the different landmarks around York County and York City, especially downtown York City. I was just at Central Market earlier and there were at least five different PokéStops within a block, showing me Central Market, a church and White Rose, and even the art that sits around the area.

This is a great app that lets your kids use their mad Pokémon catching skills. Heck, this is an app that lets you use your mad Pokémon skills, something you have nearly 20 more years experience than your kids on.

Go download the app. It's free, though it does have in-app purchases. But it's hella fun, and it's a great way to get active and enjoy part of your summer.

— Reach Katherine Ranzenberger at kranzenberger@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @YDKatherine. Follow [Your]k Health on Facebook