When it comes to pop culture, a little game called Pokémon GO is trending in the ranks above celebrities, political candidates, and fashion trends. But why all the fuss? It seems that people who are avid gamers as well as those who would never be likely to engage in such “silliness,” are taken in by the challenge of capturing various creatures in real world places. Both those who are surprised and those who expected to enjoy the game are being sucked in by its interactive nature. There is one crowd, though, who seems to not enjoy playing Pokémon GO: the lazy. It doesn’t take long after playing the game to realize that Pokémon GO involves a good bit of physical activity. While it is not marketed as a fitness app, some argue that it really is. Here are 15 reasons why this game is not a good fit for the lazy gamer.
Lazy people tend to sleep and lounge a lot. Even with recreation, they prefer watching TV or hanging out on a porch swing talking than doing recreational activities that involve physical movements. Anything above pushing a button or shuffling a deck of cards is not very fun to them. The lazy gamer is likely to be intrigued by Pokémon GO from all the hype and the gamer craze of it all. So it is natural for someone to think of this as a fun way to chill after work or on the weekend. This game is anything but chill though, and it will not take long for players to realize that they are spending all their downtime burning calories. Like it or not, if they want to keep playing Pokémon GO in their spare time, they will be forced to adopt more active hobbies.
Much like fitness apps, such as the ever popular Fitbit, Pokémon GO calculates your steps and mileage. You get a medal when you hit goals of walking distances like 50 and 100 kilometers. One British business owner, Sam Clark, set out to catch 142 characters available in the United Kingdom’s version of the game. He walked so much that he claims to have lost 28 pounds in 20 days! He even beat his goal by hatching a Tauros, which is usually only in the United States, bringing his Pokémon character count up to 143. Although the game does keep up with steps and reward steps, that is not what people are after. Players are driven by the Pokémon instead and don’t really think about how much they are walking. The exercise is more fun because it’s more like a positive side effect to playing the game. Players have said to realize only a day later how tired and sore they are from all the activity.
There are a lot of benefits to exercising, such as better health, lower body fat, more athletic ability, and a sounder mind. Sadly, that is still not enough reasons to make most of us get off of our butts and move. Maybe it is because we live in a world of instant gratification, and it doesn't seem worth it to put in the effort of exercising multiple times a week and not see instant results.
On the contrary, Pokémon GO offers instant rewards for movement in the form of a game so that it doesn’t even feel like exercise. You race across two kilometers (give or take) in order to hatch an egg, without even realizing that you just walked a mile. While some lazy folks are already finding ways to hack the system, it is still best to actually walk. You would have to crawl in your car to make the app think you’re walking, plus it’s dangerous to drive and play Pokémon. For even more incentive, you can build up to earn achievement medals from taking on challenges and traveling so many miles.
Many games are based on time, but Pokémon Go is all about going the distance—literally. When you know a game lasts for 30 minutes, for example, you may pace yourself during that time if it involves any physical effort on your part. However, when the game can keep going as long as you keep going, then you have no other choice but to keep going. This is the irony in a lazy person getting addicted to Pokémon GO. If you want to be successful, you must keep moving. Not only that, but play time can last as long as you can. Given these facts, it is only natural that the truly lazy people of the world will not be the best Pokémon GO players on the planet.
One common trend of lazy people is that they don’t go outside unless necessary. They are much more content sitting on a couch in an air-conditioned room than they are out in the open air. They could sit still for an eternity and play their games on game consoles, handheld or not, or cell phones. On the contrary, Pokémon GO doesn’t only make them move, but it also makes them get outside. Since you have to travel a certain number of steps to collect a Pokémon character, it is inevitable that you will have to go outside. Not only that, but there are PokéStops and gyms to find as well. These are preset by the developer who used GPS technology and chose popular places. That means your couch will not be included on the map.
Not only does Pokémon GO force you to go outside, but it also makes you explore the area. PokéStops are generally located at historical landmarks or monuments. This means you will be immersed in culture just by going out to find a Pokémon. You have no control over where the Pokémon or PokéStops are located. Just like your couch will not be a PokéStop, chances are the game developer didn’t take comfort into consideration when choosing cultural landmarks. Not all places you need to go to find a stop or a Pokémon will be a breeze. You may have to walk up stairs, hills, or other inconvenient obstacles to get to your destination. This is not exactly as easy as sitting back and making a cartoon do all the work by simply moving your thumbs. Welcome to virtual reality.
Speaking of challenges, this game ultimately feeds the human need for competition by awarding you medals on your player profile. These profiles are apparently so coveted that some people have been selling their top-ranking player profiles online! Then, there are Pokémon teams. This allows you to build camaraderie as well as rivalries as you compete against other Pokémon players. After collecting a Pokémon, you can then assign it to a gym and begin to train it up. Train it enough, and you gain a level. The more Pokémon and training that goes on in a gym, the more prestige a gym is given. This makes it harder for a rival to take over. Of course, that means there are challenges to take over other gyms. These battles are fun and competitive ways to get the whole team to join in on the challenge.
When you join a team and start playing alongside others, then you feel somewhat accountable for your plays. If you know others are counting on you to some extent to help build up the team, then you will feel more compelled to go out and catch some Pokémon. The game has also been responsible for creating social gatherings. People now gather in parks and other public places to all play the game together. If you are even the least bit social, then you will find it hard to deny the fun in hunting down Pokémon as a big group. The problem comes in when you had rather just hang out with friends around an Xbox and eat a bag of chips. If so, then you probably will not enjoy playing Pokémon, even if all your friends have drunk the Pokémon GO Kool-Aid.
It’s no secret that people are addicted to cell phones. Just look up in public (from your own phone) and you will see everyone else around staring at their own screens. In addition to social media sites, texting, and taking selfies, there is always a new Candy Crush Saga to keep us busy during any second of downtime that may occur. Just when you thought you couldn’t fit one more app or one more second into your phone time, Pokémon GO was invented.
The difference about Pokémon GO is that you have to move to make it work. There have been many studies about people who sit for way too long. Researchers often suggest getting up and walking around every hour or so to take a break when working a desk job or doing other such sedentary tasks. If only people would forego checking their phones every time they get a break to get up and walk around. Thanks to Pokémon GO, it turns out that they can now do both!
In addition to walking to find a Pokémon or hatch an egg, you may burn more calories than you bargained for. Since Pokémon can appear anywhere and everywhere, it is inevitable that some of those places are not so player-friendly. People have dangerously hustled across a busy street to catch a Pokémon, while others go to great lengths to reach them. For instance, two guys in their early 20s fell off a cliff in San Diego County trying to catch a Pokémon character. Despite a sign on the fence that warned passersby of unstable cliffs, they took on the challenge and climbed over the fence. Luckily, not all incidents end so dangerously. Still, people have been found going the extra mile and taking on challenging terrains just to catch a Pokémon. Some people would have never dared to think about hiking through the forest or climbing a steep hill. That is, until that obstacle stands between them and the Pokémon they wish to capture.
There comes a time in every game when you need to recharge, so to speak, by gaining more lives or arming yourself with more artillery needed to win the game. In Pokémon GO, that involves finding a PokéStop to collect more items you will need to catch the Pokémon like Pokéballs. These game stops are commonly located at historical markers, monuments, and public buildings. That sounds great if you live in a cultural area or large city with plenty of public gathering spots, but what if you live in a rural town with nothing but small town stores and fields of corn? Then it may just be a while before you locate a beloved PokéStop. That means you better get to traveling. Just like most things in a rural community, PokéStops are few and far between.
Since the launch of the game, players have complained that the tracking feature was less than helpful. Supposedly, it showed what Pokémon were lurking nearby with a picture of each character. Beneath the nearby Pokémon were footprints to correspond with the distance you needed to travel. For example, three footprints meant that you had to walk a fair distance, while only one footprint meant that it was a few feet away. Players complained that this system was not accurate and therefore, not helpful.
Then, on July 31, Niantic, Inc. came out with an update to the app. Gamers were mad as soon as they discovered that one of the changes in the update was the loss of the footprints in the tracking feature. Not only that, but there is no way of knowing if the order of Pokémon shown is random or in order of distance. Nintendo keeps promising the release of Pokémon GO Plus, which is a wristband that will vibrate when a Pokémon is nearby. Until then, players will just have to step it up (literally) and do their own tracking.
Imagine a game that you can play anytime, anywhere, in any environment. Now add to that the fact that the game will notify you when a Pokémon is near so that it is always on. Talk about addicting! This is what Pokémon has done for many people. Thanks to the Pokénotify app, players can get notifications on their phones when a Pokémon is lurking nearby. Just like a dog cannot help but run after a thrown ball, gamers cannot help but go after an appearing Pokémon. The game has to be on your screen to get notifications for now. But as soon as Nintendo releases Pokémon GO Plus, those notifications will vibrate your wrist much like the bell notified Ivan Pavlov’s dog. This may just be the Fitbit of the game world.
Notifications and distances are cool and all, but you still have to get to the Pokémon to capture it. The game doesn’t give you long to find the Pokémon either. These little creatures only stick around a certain location for so long before they disappear. So in order to capture the Pokémon, you best hustle to that location. Some versions of Pokénotify do show how long you have to catch a character in the notification, but that may just amplify your need to rush to it before it fades away. Regardless of whether you depend on notifications or just go as soon as you see one appear, you are always in a rush. Not only do the Pokémon disappear after a few minutes, but in populated places, there may be multiple people vying for the same one.
Since the inception of Pokémon GO, people have commented on how much walking is involved and how the game actually gets people outside. Naturally, it was only a matter of time before an athletic gamer (if one exists) created a workout from the game. Sure enough, several health and wellness sites have offered up cardio workouts that incorporate the game. Workouts include doing moves like lunges and pushups in between walking, jogging, or running to capture the next Pokémon character. Some people talk about not having enough time to exercise, but they do have a few minutes here and there for breaks. Those people could step it up a notch when traveling to hatch an egg and incorporate some of the strength moves beforehand. This makes for a simple—and fun—way to get in a full workout by the day’s end. Chances are if you’re lazy though, you will just go back to playing Candy Crush.