The entire point about buying one of our new homes in Visalia, CA, is to foster family togetherness. You look forward to enjoying the spacious rooms and well thought out floor plan with your spouse and kids. Yet, they spend most of their time away from your residence wandering around the city with their cell phones aimed at strange properties.
Your loved ones have just been enticed by Pokémon GO, the latest in online amusements.
What is it?
Pokémon, which is short for pocket monsters, started about 20 years ago as a game on the Nintendo Game Boy system. It then evolved into a franchise that included a trading card game, TV series, comic books, movies, and merchandise. Players collect cartoon-like monsters that could become more powerful by doing battle with each other.
As many fads do, the concept faded away but was recently resurrected as a cell phone game on July 6. It took only five days for the game to attract more players than there are active daily users of Twitter. Its creators made over $14 million in less than a week. Although the game is free, the add-ons and power ups to enhance or play cost real money.
The current game starts with a free download from Apple or Google Play. With the app, your smart phone is used to hunt for the elusive creatures through the camera and GPS. Consulting an on-screen map that duplicates the environment around Visalia, you locate any nearby Pokémon. You then travel to that location to see the actual creature frolicking on the scene displayed by your camera.
To capture the creature, you launch virtual Poké balls at it. A captured monster then becomes part of your Pokédex and increases your experience points to level up your character. The higher your level, then the more likely it is that you find the rare monsters.
When you run out of Poké balls, you’ll have to recharge at a local Poké stop, where you not only find more balls but snacks and medicines for your creatures. You can also visit Poké gyms, which are generally public outdoor spaces, where you can battle the Pokémon of other players to win bragging rights and daily prizes.
Good and Bad
Unusual for an app that appeals to the sedentary smart phone set, Pokémon GO requires players to actually go outside and interact with the world. Success requires physical exercise through walking, socializing with other players, and finding out about the local community. If you’ve just moved to the Central Valley, don’t be surprised if your family’s players wind up knowing more about Tulare County within a few days than you will in a month or two of errands.
The problems with the game involve issues that are common to anyone who focuses too much on the small screen while ignoring what’s happening around them. Distracted walkers fall off sidewalks and into ditches while those playing while driving have caused collisions. In North San Diego County, two men fell off an ocean bluff as they were playing the game. In the course of one week, two players accidentally discovered dead bodies.
If you or your family members play Pokémon GO, you can enhance the fun and avoid problems by using common sense. Pay attention to your surroundings or, better yet, travel in groups. One person can then act as a safety monitor as the others focus on their phones.
If you want more information on the fun available in Visalia or if you want to take a tour of one of our available homes, please contact us.