Anna Weir is a publicist who still owns a Gameboy Color.
The new augmented reality game has augmented everyday life. It seems the only activity people can talk about lately is playing Pokémon Go.
I can see the appeal, I really can. It’s new. It’s fun. It brings back childhood memories that, like the rest of the 90s, many kids from that decade thought were long behind them.
Moreover, it gets people out and about. Local businesses, ministries, libraries, and parks have their opened doors as hotspots, inviting this new crowd of potential customers into their “gyms.” Just the other day, while sitting at a Barnes and Noble cafe, a group of seven high school boys crowded around the table next to me, comparing stats and plotting the capture of a nearby Pidgey, boys who I doubt would otherwise be in a Barnes and Noble on a Thursday night. And as a publicist, there are all kinds of marketing lessons to be learned from the success of the game.
But it is really annoying. I wish it didn’t take an augmented reality for people to remember the joys of childhood or support their local businesses.
I’m patiently waiting for the Pokémon Go hype train to slow down and for many of its passengers to depart to the next new thing. Maybe they’ll even leave their augmented realities behind the locked screen of their phone and see the simple joys of this present reality.
Here are ten ways you could enjoy your day without playing Pokémon Go:
- Read a book. Any book you’d like!
- Support your local bookstore and buy a book, rather than hunting Pidgeys.
- Visit a museum to view the original AR of impressionistic art. (Book suggestion: Painting from the Collection of the Sheldon Museum of Art, edited by Brandon K. Ruud.)
- Feed your friends who haven’t stopped playing Pokémon Go yet by cooking delicious food. (Book suggestion: Fried Walleye and Cherry Pie, edited by Peggy Wolff.)
- Take your book outside—or, if sunlight on pages hurts your eyes, just look at the world around you. Go to see the beauty of parks. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the National Park Foundation. Tweet about the cool adventures and discoveries you can find (that aren’t eevees) using #FindYourPark. (Book suggestion: Yellowstone, Land of Wonders, translated by Janet Chapple.)
- Want something outside but a little more hands-on? Try gardening. (Book suggestion: Your Midwest Garden by Jan Riggenbach.)
- Go play golf. (Book suggestion: The Kingdom of Golf in America by Richard J. Moss.)
- Take a canoe trip and ignore the possibility of water type Pokémon hiding nearby. (Book Suggestion: Canoeing the Great Plains by Patrick Dobson.)
- Still feel the itch to hunt but can’t bare to look at a screen any longer? Read up on traditional hunting. (Book suggestion: Hunting Caribou by Henry and Karyn Sharp.)
- Remember there’s a time and place for multitasking—slow down with a thought-provoking book. (Book suggestion: Breathing In the Fullness of Time by William Kloefkorn.)
Bonus: Move up from casual gaming—play the original Pokémon games and battle your actual, real-life friends, rather than an AI. Friendly competition is what Pokémon is all about, with or without augmented reality.