Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Pokemon Go: The Fastest Growing Sport in the World

sport, spôrt
noun: sport; plural noun: sports
an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.

Yup, that describes the breakout sensation that is "Pokemon Go", a smartphone game app that encourages people to go outside and exercise, traveling from Pokestop to Pokestop to Pokegym in an effort to collect and train lots of Pokemon.

It is both an individual sport and a team sport. I am thus listing "Pokemon Go" as 'entertainment', 'games' and 'exercise equipment'.

Speaking for myself, I have already lost 8 lbs of fat in the last 3 weeks. I ended up getting a sore ankle the one day because I walked about 7 or 8 km while wearing sandals. (Word to the wise, wear comfortable shoes when walking long distances.)

The game uses augmented reality, by turning your camera on and allowing you to see what is behind it and then adding a Pokemon critter to the screen. You then toss digital Pokeballs at the critter in order to capture them.

Your goals essentially are to:

1. Capture lots of Pokemon.
2. Walk from location to location to get more Pokeballs and other useful items.
3. Visit Pokegyms to battle other Pokemon / train your Pokemon against members of your own team.

The more you walk (or rollerblade or bicycle) the more Pokemon you can catch, the more Pokeballs you get, the more Pokegyms you can visit and train at. Driving (cheating) in a car might earn you some Pokemon and Pokeballs along the way, but most of the time you will be driving too fast and miss them.

The game is basically perfect for people who are into jogging, which ultimately makes it a "walking / jogging / running / cycling / rollerblading sport". You could even do it while riding on horseback.

What methods people use while playing the sport doesn't really matter, but what is clear is that the game designers are deliberately making it difficult for people to cheat at the game.

If you try to cheat by driving around you will often find that Pokemon go "poof" and disappear because they got out of range before you could catch them.

They also recently updated the software to make it more difficult to locate Pokemon. Random Pokemon can be seen nearby, but there used to be a gamer-made app named "Pokevision" which allowed users of the app to better be able to see where Pokemon are and then be able to simply walk over to that spot in an attempt to capture those Pokemon. The game designers however felt that Pokevision was cheating (and it was using Pokemon Go's servers without their permission) and thus sent cease and desist letters before eventually pulling the plug and blocking Pokevision from working.

Also certain aspects of the game, like hatching eggs can only be done by walking 2 or 5 kilometers. Speaking for myself, I have made a goal of walking 3.5 kilometers per day each day that I am playing the game. If I play every day during a month I will have walked 105 kilometers. (A 200 lb person walking 105 kilometers will burn approx. 8000 calories, + extra calories due to the Afterburn Effect if your heart rate goes up during that time.)

It is possible to buy Pokeballs and other useful items for playing the game, but if you are doing that then you are missing the whole point of the game, which is to get more people outside and exercising. Buying a Pokeball costs between 4 to 5 cents each, which makes purchasing them really impractical as you go through them very quickly. Also if you can just walk down the street and get free Pokeballs by exercising, why would you ever pay for them?


Wear comfortable shoes.
Check the weather forecast before leaving.
Dress for the weather. Bring an umbrella if there might be rain.
For added speed ride your bicycle, rollerblades, skateboard, etc.
Invite friends and family who also play the game.
Attend meetups and join Facebook groups to meet other players.
Take a drink with you. Water is best.
Take a healthy snack with you. Apples are good. Granola bars are good too.
Take a backup battery power for your smartphone. Having the game open regularly drains the battery faster.
Keep track of how much bandwidth data you are using on your smartphone. (Last month I had just received my new cell phone and I downloaded a lot of programs on the first day of having the phone, so I had to be careful how much bandwidth I was using afterwards.)

Also you do not need to wear the silly hats. That is for the dorks who get really into it.

Already there has been 10s of millions of people who have downloaded Pokemon Go and started playing it, making it the fastest growing sport in the world.

Also the game is free. All you need is a smartphone and a data plan. No purchase necessary.

See also:

Pokemon Go as a Workout Plan

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