Monday, July 25, 2016

PokemonGo: What's the Harm?

Did you ever feel left out? Sadly, by the posts some people have been making about the worldwide phenomenon, PokemonGo, it seem's like a lot of people are feeling left out and want to rain on others happiness. I can't tell you how many posts I see on social media that just tear apart something that is so harmless. Am I naive? Am I missing something? Is the devil dressed as a little, chubby, yellow pocket monster?

First, let me share why I see the good in Pokemon as a whole. In 2000, I opened a retail store at the very beginning of the Pokemon craze. My store focused on Japanese animation and naturally, we carried the Pocket Monster cards, plush/stuffed animals and whatever else we could, because the trend was hot. Fast forward to several years later when we opened our largest retail location and became home of the east coast's largest Pokemon TCG (Trading Card Game) league. Imagine, every Sunday, having 80-100 kids weekly, in your store, battling, playing and creating new friendships. This is when I saw the good in this crazy little game.

Some of the children that came in dealt with social and mental issues. From anxiety to Asperger Syndrome to Autism to physical handicaps. Most times they never left their house except to come to our store and the parents shared the stories with us. These kids wanted to meet new kids, make friends and have some fun. Pokemon allowed this to happen. No one was looked at as different, no fights every broke out. Not even tears were shed from what I remember. This is when Kim and I realized that this game helps bring people together. We, as a couple feel in love with the good in this game.

Now, here we are again, 2016, our store is nothing but a memory but our old friend Pikachu and the
gang have once again made their way into our lives. Yet, so many on the internet hate to welcome me, it's not Team Rocket in disguise. It's harmless.

Ok, so here are the benefits to PokemonGo from my perspective:

1. Getting Active - Yes, in order to play this game, you gotta get your ass moving to catch them all. You must accumulate walking miles to hatch eggs, take small adventures to find new breeds and head to gyms and pokestops. I know, walking? Pfft. (We are clocking an average of 10,000 additional steps per day because of this app)

2. Community - I can tell you this first hand, when we walked around our neighborhood, we were met with people of all ages stopping us, sharing where other Pokemon were and just laughing and having a great time. Again...tell me how this is bad? I can't tell you the last time Kim and I walked through our town and talked, laughed and enjoyed the time. This game brings people to together.

Does it have it's draw backs? Of course, but don't worry the media will make you aware of those issues. They love creating fear and telling you the bad stuff in the world.

Here are MY tips:

1. Watch where you're going!! I recommend using the buddy system. (I know..silly). The buddy should be someone who doesn't play and can watch your surroundings like cars, trees or dog poop.

2. Respect people's property - I know you can catch a Gastly in the cemetery but, let's try our best to be respectful. The slight chance of that elusive Pokemon being on private property can and will happen, but you, being responsible will walk away or do your best to follow the law.

3. Have Fun - don't let people bully you into not playing. You can be any age and you can tell everyone about how much fun you're having. Don'y worry what others say. Have fun.

Thanks for taking the time and reading this. As you can see, we have seen Pokemon change and affect people's lives in the most positive way. Any time you can see someone who is dealing with issues, smile and laugh, it's the best feeling in the world. Please share this blog, and check out my Youtube page - Now go out into the world and catch those Pokemon.

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