Thank you, Pokemon Go

So, today is the 5th anniversary of Pokemon Go. I wrote a similar post on the game’s 3rd anniversary, explaining that although it didn’t have the same broad base of players that it had in the Summer of 2016, what it has now is a loyal and enthusiastic fanbase that loves the game. It also has 6 generations of Pokemon, with 5 additional generations being introduced in the years following the game’s release.

The thing that has changed most since PoGo’s 3rd anniversary is what they’ve done in regards to the pandemic; there are daily bonus gifts, remote battles, higher spawn rates, and higher distances for poke-stops. They’ve really done a lot for the players during the pandemic, and they’ve had a deluge of seasonal and tie-in events; it pretty much always feels like there’s some kind of special event, almost too many.

But I’ve really loved playing this game now more than ever. When I used to go into the office on a regular basis, I would frequently walk a lot during the day as a way to play the game. So, when I was stuck at home, to keep playing I had to take up walking around the neighborhood or on a treadmill. But, walking took too long, so I began running. And soon enough, Pokemon Go was two hobbies in one: Running and Pokemon.

So soon enough I could run three miles without it being too exhausting; and then four miles was doable. Then 5 miles wasn’t too long a distance. Then 6, then 7 – once last summer and again this spring, I ran a half marathon. Obviously, that distance is still exhausting, but I can do it – thanks to Pokemon Go.

I love that I can just decide to run 6 miles and I can do that and it won’t wear me out for the entire day – sure, I have an upper limit, where I can’t run more than 10 miles without being a little sore the next day, and on the rare occasion where I run more than that – say, a half marathon – I get quite tired.

Once I started running while playing PoGo, I did start to lose weight, which was nice, but it’s nothing compared to the joy of having a new hobby, or the satisfaction of meeting my 50 km/week quota.

Pokemon Go really helped to keep me sane in 2020 and into 2021, and through PoGo, I found a new hobby. I owe this game and the development team behind it a huge thank you – for Summer 2016, for all the new pokemon, for the delight of finding a shiny pokemon, and for the thrill of being able to run long distances. People might be inclined to say that the game was a passing fad, but as I said in my post on the game’s third anniversary, for some of us the game has brought us a lot of joy. Pokemon Go isn’t dead, it’s just adapted to a smaller, more passionate audience.

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