This weeks most heated online feuds: Taylor Swift v. The entire Kardashian West clan, Melania Trump v. everyone who ever said anything notable, and Pokémon GO fans v.
boring people the Anti-Poké Brigade.
Anyone who is playing the game knows at least one person in the last group. They're more vocal about their dislike for the game than paleo crossfitters. They say that the game is childish, that it prevents people from socializing, that it detracts from the discussion of serious events and that it's dangerous. Every time you post something about the game, they have an argument and a story to back it up. It's frustrating. Especially when you can see how much good it's doing and home much fun everyone's having.
So we though it was time to arm you with some stories that prove that Pokémon GO has been good for the world.
Here are 15 of our favorites:
15 When Pokéstops get much-needed attention
There are some really weird Pokéstops out there, and people who aren’t fans of the game will point out that some of them are inappropriate places for a game to be played. Some of those inappropriate places they talk about are cemeteries, which seem to be a popular place to put a Pokéstop. People definitely shouldn’t be running around disturbing funerals or burials, but there’s also a positive side to this: Cemeteries that have been overlooked are getting attention, which led to one Tumblr user sharing an experience at a graveyard near his house.
Since it’s a well-lit location with many Pokéstops, there are people walking around it to gather items and Pokémon at all hours – even late at night. While speaking to a funeral home director attached to the cemetery, he discovered that the site had been dealing with vandalism where fixtures on the graves (as well as the metal inscription plates) were being stolen and sold for scrap. Even when they caught the people responsible, the funeral director said that it was a recurring problem. Until now. Having Pokémon trainers walking around the cemetery had discouraged vandals from ruining more of the graves – something that’s much more disrespectful than having someone find a Pikachu next to a headstone.
TIP: It might be OK at this cemetery, but it’s a good idea to find out if it applies to one near you. Remember: It’s sacred ground to many.E.g. it’s not acceptable at Arlington National Cemetery.
14 When real creatures get saved
The game hasn’t been out long but there are already stories of players finding and rescuing stray animals. While finding a Sandslash is exciting, it’s even more exciting to discover the real life equivalent. Like the brother and sister duo who, while out hunting Pokémon, noticed that there was something in the road that wasn’t moving. When they realized it was an injured hedgehog, they stopped traffic and rescued it. It’s a good thing they went Pokémon hunting that day since it had a broken leg and, if they hadn’t gotten it to the vet, it wouldn’t have been able to escape the traffic.
Next time someone tells you that people playing Pokémon aren’t paying attention to the wonderful world around them – focusing instead on make-believe creatures – tell them this story. If playing the game means they might encounter something as cute as a hedgehog and they aren't playing it, they’re the ones not interested in the natural world. HA.
13 When college students bond over something other than beer pong
College. That wonderful period in life where, for four years (or more if you’re smart enough to avoid the real world for longer), you make many good friends and even more questionable decisions. Also, you can learn stuff.
The social divisions at college might not be as radical as they are in high school, but it still takes something special to bring people from all groups together. Tumblr user, MizLiz, shared an experience where, after someone had placed a lure in the center of her college campus, over 20 students gathered to catch and talk about Pokémon. Old timers (the 25+ crowd) shared stories with teenagers about how the card game was banned from schools when it came out.
The biggest criticism you’ll hear about the game is that it makes people look at their screens instead of socializing. But stories like this prove how wrong they are. As MizLIz says: “I get so salty when people go off on how this game is ‘bad’ for society because today I talked to a group of people I’d never interacted with otherwise and we had a beautiful time.”
12 When it breaks the monotony of a workday
If you’ve been playing the game, chances are you’ve struck up conversations with total strangers. You’ve also probably played it at work when you should’ve been doing something productive (We think that hunting Jigglypuff is plenty productive, but people in charge of adulting probably don’t agree). But even then, you could still have a beautiful Pokémon experience.
Like a story that was shared by a reddit user about how he received an email compliment from a mother who’d been shopping with her son. While they were at the store where the reddit worker works, he overheard her son talking about Pokémon and stopped work to talk to him about it. The reason this meant so much to her was that her son was finding it difficult to adjust to a new area after moving.
She went on to say that her son was so excited about making his first friend in the area that he’s been much happier about moving. That’s what it’s all about.
11 When it makes the police more human
With all the horrible news stories involving police lately, it’s refreshing – and encouraging – to hear people talk about the positive experiences they’ve had with them while playing Pokémon. And, luckily, there are many good ones being shared on social media.
It’s not surprising that, when driving slowly around a college campus parking lot, the police get suspicious. Which is what reddit user, XEROPAIN, was expecting when he was pulled over by a cop. He says he’s used to this and has been pulled over three times while playing the game (which maybe wouldn’t happen if he was walking and not driving in circles at 3 mph), but that after he says he’s playing Pokémon, they let him go. Anticipating this, he was shocked when the cop asked him what level he was (22!) and then asked him to help him catch a stubborn Golbat who kept escaping from a Pokéball.
10 When it creates a new kind of family time
It’s a standard complaint from parents these days; instead of spending quality time with family, kids are too busy snapchatting, taking selfies, or watching Netflix. But Pokémon has been creating a common bond between family members who would otherwise be ignoring each other.
A father shared his experience with reddit users by saying that, as a man who is sometimes difficult to reach emotionally, he’s never felt closer to his family than he does now – after playing Pokémon together. He talks about how they spent evenings tracking Pokémon together and that, while out attempting to catch water Pokémon, they spent a memorable evening on the beach. Here’s how he described the moment:
“I'm a hard man to reach sometimes, but I've never felt so close to my family. Over the last year we've gone on vacations and had outings of different kinds, but last night... I don't know. We had an adventure together. We explored life. I'll forever carry the memory of standing in the lake with my family, my pant legs getting soaked, picking out the constellations in the sky and listening to the waves. We were together in a way that was somehow so much more meaningful than it's been in ages.This is what love feels like, I think.”
9 When Pokémon = Love for the socially awkward
Since it’s taken over from Tinder as the most downloaded app, it’s only right that it’s helping people find love (or something like it). The most impressive thing, and something that no other dating app has achieved, is that it’s helping the most socially awkward of us to meet people. Like the 17-year-old reddit user who was out buying butter (!) for his mom when a wild Vaporeon appeared. And then a wild girl appeared.
Despite being, as he says, “absolutely socially inept,” the excitement of helping someone else find a rare Pokémon gave him courage that he’d never had before. After calling her over and then helping her to catch it, they spent time talking about the game. He even managed to tell her that he hoped to see her again. If you’re anything like this guy, you’ll know how much courage you need to say something like that. It’s another great thing about the game: It’s giving people game.
Also: When a pretty girl smiles, boys forget to buy butter.
8 When Grandparents are in on the joke
If you’re playing the game, you’re in one of three groups: The nostalgia crew who were a part of the card game/GameBoy/TV show craze in the '90s, the new crew who have only discovered Pokémon now (because they were zero years old when the card game was around) or parents playing because if you can’t beat them, you might as well catch them.
There’s a fourth group though: Grandparents. We know they exist because someone shared an experience at a retirement home on Facebook. This, of course, means that the whole Internet knows about it too. When visiting the home where the OP’s mother and aunt sing karaoke, he discovered that it was a gym held by Team Mystic. He described seeing an elderly man powering up a gym, which was held by a CP 1500 Gengar, a 1000 CP Gyarados, and other high-powered Pokémon. By any standards, that’s an impressive gym. That it’s being held by people in their 80's is priceless.
7 When it helps you make new friends
Anyone playing Pokémon – regardless of age, gender or team allegiance – is a potential friend. In a world where finding common ground with other people is more difficult than finding similarities, Pokémon has become a great equalizer. There’s a competitive side to the game, but it’s (mostly) friendly.
If you spot someone swiping furiously on their phone, walking in directions that make no sense or generally looking confused, offer them help. A Tumblr user shared a story about how she went out Pokémon hunting but couldn’t catch a Pidgey that had appeared (Hey, even the best athletes have bad days). After wasting too many Pokéballs on the glorified chicken, she asked a guy walking past to help her out. He caught it in one throw. And then stayed with her to catch everything else she encountered too. In 50 years, these two will be talking about the Pokémon that started their friendship.
At least Pidgey is good for something.
6 When it bridges the generation gap
For anyone who was playing Pokémon when it was a card game, you’ll remember how much joy every new card brought you. The only thing more exciting than ripping open a pack of cards to discover a Charizard is the moment you encounter one in the wild. We’re willing to bet that, since the game was released, thousands of fans have dug through attics, storage lockers, and boxes to find their old collections of Pokémon cards.
But there’s a whole generation that won’t know the excitement of the card game, even if they know what it feels like to watch an egg hatch. The fact that older people treasure the cards hasn’t escaped them though. Here’s the proof: A Pikachu card that was handed to a user on Imgur by two 8- and 10-year-old kids on the hunt for wild Pikachu.
And that’s how you make someone’s day.
5 When it gives people something to look forward to. Every day.
Say what you will about the excitement of adults playing a game made (supposedly) for kids, but there are people – of all ages – who have overcome incredible odds because of that excitement. Stories of people with depression, social anxiety, and chronic illnesses who have found that the game helps them deal with these things; things that otherwise prevent them from finding something to look forward to every day, are all over Tumblr.
Like the kid with a chronic illness that has made life really difficult for him. He described how the joy he experienced from catching his favorite Pokémon – Growlithe – was greater than the pain he experiences daily.
Stories like this explain why parents, who would otherwise be irritated by another game that keeps their kids glued to a screen, are allowing their children to borrow phones and run up their data bills. Anything that can bring that much happiness to one child is enough of a reason to make sure they can experience that happiness daily!
4 When it turns enemies (and frenemies) into friends (and family)
Anything that brings people who hate each other together is worth getting excited about. In broken families or in estranged families, finding something to bridge the gap is difficult. The anti-Poké brigade argues that the game is a bad thing because it’s just one more reason for people to stare at a screen, rather than participate in family time. And anyone who’s lost a family member to a Candy Crush addiction knows that they’re not wrong to be worried.
But there’s a story that contradicts their claims. On Tumblr, a Pokémon GO player discovered that the game was giving him the chance to bond with his half-sister. That doesn’t sound so unusual until he goes on to describe how he has three half-siblings that have never lived with him and that, because he’s the half-brother, he was considered the “black sheep.” He says that his half-sister has always hated him. That is, until recently, when they spent an evening catching a Growlithe together.
3 When it did this
This person found Pikachu on his brother's grave. Twitter text translates (roughly) to: "My brother loved Pikachu. He had a Pikachu Tomb."
We’ll leave it to the OP to tell this one:
“I visit my mother and father's graves fairly regularly. Both are within a half an hour drive of my home. Turns out, both are FULL of Pokéstops, so the past few days I've been going to them with my kids daily since they're on summer break from school and are getting bored (we live too rural to play at home).
Yesterday I deployed a lure at a monument in my mom's cemetery and then sat down on a monument bench and cranked through a bunch of evolutions while my 13- and 21-year-old went to the mausoleum gym to battle. The same couple of groundskeepers drove by a few times while we were there each of the past few days and I figured they were going to probably ask us what we were doing sooner or later, or maybe even ask us to move along. I even braced myself to possibly get yelled at, rehearsing the confrontation in my head – I was all set to reply with, 'My mother is buried here.', as justification for our harmless presence.
So, it wasn't THAT big of a shock when the white groundskeeper truck pulled up ominously and the guy rolled his window down slowly as my son was walking back over to me from the mausoleum (a very somber and lovely building that we treat with the respect it deserves, of course!).
I braced myself as the guy stopped, put his window down, and then yelled, 'TEAM RED?!' and my son put up both thumbs and hollered back, 'YEA BUDDY,' and the guy gave us the thumbs up and drove away to weedwhack another section of the cemetery. Dude stops working periodically to defend 'his' gyms when he sees people hanging out, LMAO!I love this game.”
And in case you were wondering how he felt about Pokémon GO being played at a cemetery:
“Some people off reddit have asked me how I feel about this, as someone whose parents are buried in cemeteries full of Pokéstops. So far I've seen no littering and heard/seen nothing disrespectful, so I don't consider it a problem personally. I told my kids that their Nana (my mom) would have loved to see us still doing things together as a family. Also, we have made a habit of (following each cemetery's individual rules and) clearing off flat grave markers that are becoming overgrown any time the game brings us past one. My dad is a veteran and his section/the veteran's section full of flat markers becomes badly overgrown sometimes - I hate to see that happen to other people's headstones. I consider it an opportunity to visit and do some good, personally.”
2 When it gave this shy artist some exposure
Pokémon fans – even before the app was released – have always been vocal about how much they love it. The Pokémon-based art you’ll find on DeviantArt will give you an indication of how creative a fan base they are. Until Pokémon GO, the only way to connect the artists with the fans is digitally or at conventions. But now that there’s a more prominent presence of Pokémon fans, and more of them than ever before, there’s somewhere for artists to go to share their creations.
There’s an artist near reddit user houstdark4life’s Pokéstop that draws Pokémon while people are playing the game around him. He's apparently very shy but he gives his drawings away for free. This is just another example of how people who wouldn’t have met otherwise are able to share their love of something.
These little connections are the things that help make the world a better – and prettier – place to live in.
1 When it can be used to do good things in the community
Many Pokémon GO players have reported finding stray and abandoned animals. Some have taken them home, some have helped them find new homes and others have given them a better chance at survival. While there are people who think the game’s popularity is ridiculous, there are others who have realized that its popularity can be used to achieve some good.
As ABC News has reported, there’s an animal shelter in Muncie, Indiana, that has taken advantage of the Pokémon GO craze by asking people to help walk the shelter’s dogs while they’re out hunting, catching and battling Pokémon. The shelter’s director says that, after being introduced to the game by his 6-year-old daughter, he noticed how many people were out walking and thought it would be incredible if all those people were walking their dogs.
It’s a great idea, and one that anyone can get involved in. The next time you head out to find a rare Pokécreature, consider stopping by your local shelter and seeing if you can help an actual creature.
BONUS:Some of the funniest quotes by non-Pokémon players (as seen on Reddit)
"My mother asked me if I caught any Charcanters."
"I saw a mom playing Pokémon Go with her daughter on the metro yesterday... At one point she joyfully screamed, 'OMG LOOK IT'S PIKACHU! I CAUGHT A PIKACHU!!'It's a Drowzee."
"The other day my husband kept tying to convince me that Ponyta was Epona because he was trying to mess with me. It ended with me screaming at him to pull over so I could catch 'Horsie Fire Tail'"
"My family thinks that's the name of the series, and that Pikachu's name is Pokémon."
"Things people have called Geodude:Punchy RockMad TesticleSkips LegDayMeatball with arms"