Pokémon Go – 3 Days In
Perhaps it was my week of entertaining teenagers that lured me into downloading Pokémon Go. Or perhaps it was finally the opportunity for me to be an early adopter of something that became viral so swiftly. Either way, I’ve been playing Pokémon Go for a few days now, I am almost to Level 5, and have made some interesting observations in the past few days:
- Nothing New Here Folks – design your Avatar with a few options, a few screens of story which nobody reads, and off you go ready to catch your first Pokémon. Now what? Oh wait? I have to get up and move around? Yawn. Maybe tomorrow.
- Day 2 – I read about the game accessing too much data from Google accounts. I signed up with my Google account. I immediately delete the app. Later I go to a park to paddleboard. I see people wandering around looking at their phones. I remind myself that I used my cryptic Google email address. I re-install the app. In the midst of floating around the lake, I considered turning the app on, but high winds and big waves hindered that. In hindsight, I wonder what I would have found.
- Usability Issues – For 3 days I could not figure out what the spinning ball on the left-hand side of the screen meant. Today I looked through the help pages. No mention of it. Not intuitive. I am still not 100% certain but I think it’s an indicator that I should be ready for action to blast a Pokémon. I’m now considering that evasive usability is the new design trend for people younger than me. If this is true, I’m worried.
- My Dog LOVES Pokémon Go! Or maybe just me taking him on a long walk. Dog on a Leash + Poop Bag + Phone = not a good mix.
- “Um….. Are you playing Pokémon Go?” A question asked of me by, my guess, a 9 or 10 year old boy on my street as I pull out of my driveway on my bike and glance at my phone. “YES. YES I AM,” I assertively respond. He looks at his friend, rolls his eyes, and says “Oh boy, EVERYBODY is playing Pokémon Go.” Scratch feeling smarter. #SMH
- HONK!!!!!!!!!! Pokémon Go + biking + headphones = not advisable. Just don’t. I start to imagine the lawsuits that will emerge.
- Feeling Silly – I find myself wandering aimlessly in the park behind my house. My bike has blown over from a swift gust of wind. I’m walking in circles in an empty parking lot with my iPhone in front of me. A car slowly drives by. I decide it’s time to go home and put my phone away. I’ve wasted a good 40 minutes by this point, but I did burn 166 calories in the process.
- Try Again – I am still a bit curious as to hot pink sparkles surrounding a marker at the other park by my house. I revert back to walking. The neighbor I dislike drives by and gives me a look. I go back to the house. A few minutes later, I get a phone call from my other neighbor (who I like). She wants to know why I am wandering around with my phone. “Did something happen?” she asks. I explain that part of my job as a interactive designer requires me to play games. She’s confused.
- Evening Activities – I’ve decided to revert back to adult life and go to yoga. I drive to the yoga studio which happens to be in an area where parking is limited. I have to walk several blocks. I decide it can’t hurt if I flip the app back on. I find all sorts of hot spots with Pokémon Go magnets sparkling and trying to dazzle me. I also notice a few other people doing the Pokémon Go walk who are close in age to me. I feel less stupid.
- After Hours – Driving back home from a blissful yoga class, I turn into my neighborhood. As I approach the park by my house, I notice a kid sitting on the curb in front of the park sign with his bike and his phone and a car parked opposite from him with two young guys holding their phones. I still had my app running from earlier so I look over and see that hot pink sparkle which is a Pokémon Go magnet. It lures more Pokémon to the spot for 30 – 60 minutes depending on how much cash some kid forked over. Hmmm.
- Pokémon Go Zombie Apocalypse – I head home, grab the dog and my phone and walk back to the park. I have decided that as long as I have the dog with me, I don’t look suspicious. As my dog and I make our way to the park, I notice that the car and the kid are still sitting there. I look across the park and see people of all ages wandering around aimlessly holding their phones. I’m absolutely amazed at this point at how a game which really doesn’t have any goal other than leveling up and catching Pokémon has lured at least a dozen people out in the late evening.
- The Look – by now my dog has decided that a #2 is in order and is feverishly walking back and forth. I am also smack dab in the middle of a Pokémon Go hot spot. People are walking around, and we avoid making eye contact. I’m in the park for the dog obviously. It just so happens that his potty spot and the Pokémon Go hot spot are one in the same.
- Nerd Love – After my dog finishes his business, I walk over to the trash can. I notice a woman sitting there who resembles someone I might have played World of Warcraft with. I look over at the playground and see another person of similar statue. I start to wonder could Pokémon Go bring people together like Tinder? A series of mosquito bites jars me back to reality. I see a guy who is probably my age on his bike and holding his phone. We make eye contact and he smiles at me. Time to go home.
- Hot Spots – I’m eating dinner and watching the 10 pm news. A story airs about Pokémon Go and how the new trend will be restaurants and other establishments buying Pokémon Go magnets to lure people to their businesses. A trendy sushi bar is already doing it. The goofy news reporter is trying to show TV viewers how the game works. I now know how that kid from earlier in the day felt. The news guy is ruining everything. He can’t play Pokémon Go! Now EVERYBODY is going to play it!
- Just One More Pokémon – I flip my app on one last time tonight as I read that more Pokémon are spotted at night. I catch one in my house. I see another outside. I wander out and suddenly remember I’m in my pajamas. A utility worker doing some emergency power line work down the street sees me. I pull myself back to adult life and tell myself that it’s time to call it a night. Now I’m brainstorming ways to capitalize on the game, how it can help my clients market their businesses, and how long it will last. Only time will tell.