Pokemon Go – My urban exercise buddy

By | August 1, 2016

So I finally got around to trying out Pokemon Go. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I also wanted to see what all the concern and criticism were about. I listened to the advice of one blogger and didn’t use my gmail account to sign up, rather I created a separate account that wasn’t attached to my main email. My husband had a better idea, and that is to create a second gmail account with an alias that you use for all such things – things that you don’t really care about and that you don’t want to spam your friends with. Anyways, I set it up. Watched a YouTube tutorial on how to actually throw poke balls, and I was good.

I found it really rather a fun experience. The first task you have is to find Poke Balls. They are found in caches that are shown on an overlay of the Google map. They are usually found in obscure (and sometimes not obscure) points of interest. There were not a huge number in my area, but I did a bit of a walk around (about 5000 steps worth) and found a few fun things like a tile painting on a local business building. I also see that there are several on a bike path near my place that I had forgotten existed. I will probably go on a reconnaissance bike ride this week to find more of the poke ball caches.

I found that I did not need to be looking at my phone the whole time. I could see where things were on the maps, hold my phone in my hand (not looking at it) and just walk to the next landmark, and look again. The phone didn’t need to use my camera and didn’t actually use it to collect Poke Balls. Once I got some balls, some of the Pokeman things started showing up. Again I didn’t need to be watching my phone. My phone vibrated when I got close to something. I could then stop where I was, the game turned the camera one, and the Pokeman thing was on the screen in the camera. I just positioned it and threw the ball to catch the Pokeman. I could also chose to just it the run button and keep walking.

I may be a naive player at this point, but I do find it a fun way to get in some urban exercise. I wouldn’t use it in a nature setting as I’d rather be looking out at the world. But it did encourage me to get out for a walk and to explore areas that I had not been to before. I find myself actually planning to go on walks in different areas just so that I can discover various random things. I could spend all my time just collecting Poke Balls.

I see the parallels between this and geocaching. I find this slightly more interesting in part because the caches are setup to be in places of interest rather than hidden in random places.

So for now, I will use Pokemon Go as my urban exercise buddy. It will encourage me to walk more and bike more – and that is a good thing. I just hope it plays nicely with the Runkeeper app. I haven’t tried that yet!

Have you tried Pokemon Go yet? What do you think of it?

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