Pokémon GO: World’s Biggest Disaster?

By Maegan McFarland

Who doesn’t like collecting cute creatures and putting them in your pocket? Why else would a series like a Pokémon be so popular? All joking aside, there is no doubt that Pokémon, a Japanese franchise about collecting monsters, is one of the biggest franchises in the world. Last year The Pokémon Company decided to release its first mobile game, “Pokémon GO,” which took the world by storm in both bad and good ways.

The controversy of this game was hard to escape. Newscasters all across the nation had something to say, whether it was be praise or flack. Some say it’s one of the best games ever, claiming it helped them with their own lives. Others say it’s one of the biggest tragedies in gaming because the game has been linked to many accidents and injuries. This begs the question: Is the game helpful or harmful?

First of all, the game has led to some outrageous accidents. For example, in Bloomington, Ill., a man was caught playing the game while driving. In Encinitas, Calif., firefighters found two men who had fallen off a cliff while Pokémon hunting.

Obviously causing death was not the goal of the company, but it led them to put warning signs in their game such as, “don’t attack actual animals in the wild,” “don’t drive and Pokémon GO,” and “stay clear of the road when playing the game.” However, the complaints were still heard.

Many complain about people going out and getting hurt, but others are making the best argument for the game ever…it’s getting people outside. In an age where it is rare to see someone outside and not glued to his or her phone, tablet or computer, it is nice that a game encourages people to get out and explore the area around them. Granted, the people are still glued to their phones, but it made an effort.

There have also been amazing stories of the game helping people with their mental and physical health. In several cases, the game has helped with depression. In an article from PsychCentral titled, “Pokémon Go Reportedly Helping People’s Mental Health, Depression,” the author, John M. Grohol, states that “being motivated to exercise when you’re depressed is a challenge…Pokemon Go does this by encouraging people to get outside, take a walk, talk to others, and explore the world.” The article then continues on to ten tweets, taken from twitter, celebrating the fact that the game helped them get through their depression and anxiety.

If one were to ask me if I liked the game, I would say yes. I highly recommend the game be played responsibly. Pay attention to surroundings and don’t play in the road. Seeing so many people coming together and playing together all because of one game is heartwarming. It showcases the power of medium and what happens when players get up and go.