Returning to Pokemon Go: Inspiring an Active Lifestyle

Recently I, along with a large group of friends, committed to something none of us expected: reinstalling Pokemon Go. As a group, we’ve rediscovered the joy AR gaming can bring. Personally, I have managed to use it to reignite a desire for adventure. This adventure has also been a catalyst for hobbies I plan on exploring throughout the coming summer. This is an overview of how Pokemon Go has inspired me to commit to a more active lifestyle.

The Beginning

Everyone out and about during summer 2016 knows of Pokemon Go’s impact upon launch. Pokestops begin to spring up everywhere, Pokemon Gyms became mass gathering places, and a great community of all kinds of people began to integrate this previously hidden style of gameplay into their daily lives. I was a part of that crowd along with a large group of friends.

For a few months, we kept up with news and had an endless excitement for this new phenomenon. After summer ended, though, we slowly lost interest and returned to our normal routines at the time. We went to high school during the day and PC gaming sessions took up most other hours. We would slowly forget about the game and it would slowly leave our phones. That is until around a month ago.

Getting Back to the Game

It was one of those weekends where everything fell into place. I met up with a few friends to do a few things in the morning. Then, throughout the day our group grew as we gathered more friends for an adventure. Towards the end of the day, we found ourselves at a local game store that was holding a sort of swap meet. We hung out there for a while to browse some interesting gaming-related wares the community had to offer.

While standing there, I noticed a long forgotten sight on my friend’s phone. I saw the familiar map layout of Pokemon Go. My friend convinced me to reinstall it for after a brief conversation about why he started. Little did I know, the new features in the game and a returning yearn for adventure would cause a new phase for my group. Pretty soon I added a dedicated PoGo channel to our main Discord server. Through the week we would begin to embark on many journeys of skating and biking around town in order to catch ’em all.

A New Experience

With backstory out of the way, this is what has happened because of Pokemon Go. Through the past few weeks, my group and I have made countless trips to our local central park where there are an unbelievable amount of stops and gyms within the span of a few blocks. The trail serves as a perfect route with Pokestops dotted generously along the way. For almost a full 14 days in a row we’ve been on the grind. Everything has been Pokemon, from gathering items at stops to participating in community events.

Raids at nearby gyms quickly fill up with at least 10-20 trainers from the community. It creates a unique opportunity to meet a variety of people we wouldn’t have otherwise. During weekend events it seems like an MMO that is naturally and directly integrated into real life. The game has reminded me about what I used to love so much about extended treks through the city and skateboard cruises downtown. It has recaptured a feeling that I haven’t spent much time tapping into since high school.

Where it Has Taken Me

The adventures this game has started has also inspired me to pick up the hobby of biking. I’ve been waking up fairly early just to hop on my cruiser and head around town for a few hours. Partly for Pokemon upkeep, partly for the scenery and zen time. Some days I head to the park for raids, others I head downtown for items. And lately every day has been a blissful experience.

I had no clue that jumping back into this game would get me into a mood where I’m inspired to get up and enjoy aimlessly riding around. Nor that I would have a full folder of bookmarks for bike shopping and a dozen or so YouTube subscriptions of biking-related channels. It feels as though this experience has flipped a switch. Now I’m always looking forward to heading out with friends for Pokemon Go related tasks rather than hopping in Discord for our usual carnage.

Some Final Thoughts

Regardless of the staying power Pokemon Go will retain within my group, it has definitely had a profound effect. It has simultaneously given my group a new game to obsess over while getting me back into a mode of wanting to adventure and enjoy the outdoors. Whether or not I’m still playing 3 months from now, I know that this endeavor will have improved my routine. I’ll be working towards a new bike, looking up more scenic locations in my area to venture through, and pushing myself to spend more time in the zen state of cruising. A state where all I see and feel is the concrete below, the sunny sky above, and the beautiful scenery that I forget I’ve been plopped down into.

And hey, if anyone out there happens to see this page floating out in the internet abyss, here’s my trainer code if you need another friend to send gifts to 😉