If this is your first time visiting, welcome. If you are returning again, welcome back. While this blog was originally not going to be about me or my life, it seems to be morphing to include more of myself and experiences. I will still strive to add a different perspective to the news and events around the world that impact everyone's life,however, I will focus more attention on issues that relate more tangibly to our personal lives. We all live in a world that is increasingly interconnected yet it seems a lot of people are turning inwards, shying away from human interaction. Lets step away from ourselves and see what we can do to make a difference. There are ads on this page and 65 cents of every dollar earned will be donated towards helping the homeless. If you like what you are reading, please share it with your friends.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Pokemon and Nature

To be perfectly honest, I had not heard about the newest app to take this country by storm until a week after it was already out.  I think at this point it has been out for just a little over two weeks.   That app, Pokemon Go, is based on the game from the 1990's.  I never got into the game then and I pretty much guarantee that I will not be getting into this latest game.  There is both a positive and negative side to this new game in my mind.  Let's start with the positive.   The game is designed to get you outdoors, walking around, and searching for different landmarks that correspond to ones in the game.  It is considered Augmented Reality.   The idea is that as you hold your phone up in areas that are designated as "Gyms" or other areas, you can find the Pokemon.  From there on out, I am lost on the concept.  But back to the positive of the game.  It gets people outside and walking.  Most video games inspire a more sedentary lifestyle, locking oneself indoors reclined on a couch and staring at a TV screen for hours on end.  The exception previous to this app had to be Nintendo Wii.  So people are outside, meeting other Pokemon gamers and engaging with the real world, albeit via a smartphone that they are still somewhat glued to as they play the game.  What can be better for a gamer?  Playing a game and getting outdoors.  Yet, as someone who has never been a "gamer", I still don't understand the draw and will inevitably find problems with a game.  

My problem, is that while people are getting outdoors, they are still not dealing with "reality".  People must travel outdoors to arrive at certain areas that correspond to ones in the game, but once there, it is back to staring at a smartphone to play.  There is a brief period where, hopefully, they are not staring at their phones while traveling to their destination and as such can take in their surroundings, enjoy the scenery, and get some exercise.  Yet, I feel this is all negated by the fact that once they arrive at their destination to find their "Pokemon", they return to staring at their phone and engaging with their augmented reality.  Yes, this game can expose people to landmarks that they might not otherwise visit, but if their sole purpose of visiting is to collect Pokemon, are they really seeing what is around them?  A few might, but I think for the most part, people will forget a given landmark soon after their mission in the game is done.   On top of that, once a mission is completed,  people invested in the game will quickly move on, not bothering to enjoy the space they are in, the beauty of their surroundings, or the historical significance of any "gym" they might come across.   I think what bothers me the most about this is the augmented reality part.  When we live in a world where reality must be augmented to draw more people outside, I get worried.  Even two weeks in, some people playing the game have walked off the edge of cliffs, strayed into streets while staring a their phones, and have begun to create a disturbance by calling 911 to see if they can get access to fire stations.  Reality should be fascinating enough as it is, yet sadly, for many these days it is not.

Staring at a phone to find Pokemon, one will miss the small beauties in nature.  The white bellied hawk, speckled with gray and brown that glides over head.  Or the pink and purple painted clouds drifting slowly in a darkening sky.  Or the subtle variations in the flowers of summer.  Is it good that more people are getting outside, absorbing more vitamin D, and breathing the fresh summer air?  Absolutely, I just happen to think that it is for the wrong reason and once this app has run its course, unless their is a fantastic new replacement, people will retreat to their homes and disregard the outdoors as they did before the game came out.  For me, I will not be downloading the game for when I go outside, I want to interact personally with the world around me and not stare through a screen to see it.  I want to focus intimately with the sounds, smells, and sights that abound in nature.  I will take me true reality any day over a game's augmented reality.  Let's talk in a month and see where this fad of Pokemon Go is.  I'll read about the dumbasses in the news I am sure.  

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