For the past week, I’ve been watching a bunch of my friends play Pokémon GO. The game itself seems interesting, but I think the concept behind it is brilliant.
I think it’s brilliant because it helps you rediscover parts of yourself that you often ignore.
Let me explain.
The game lets players capture, battle, and train virtual Pokémon (Pocket Monsters) who appear throughout the real world. It does this by using GPS tracking and Augmented reality. Basically cool technology that makes life look more fun on a screen.
What I think it is really doing is putting you back into Discovery Mode.
It’s rare to see adults wandering around in the real world, excited by what they find. It’s rare to see adults actively pursuing something interesting or valuable to them.
But Pokémon GO tricks you into doing just that. It makes you stay forever vigilant to what is important to you (in this case capturing virtual monsters and sharing the experience with friends) and then it forces you into action to get what you want.
What makes Pokémon GO so engaging is that it is happening in the real world in real time.
As one of my buddies told me the other night “I was at the mall last night with friends for over three hours, walking around catching more Pokémon. Literally hundreds of people were doing the same thing. It’s insane.”
After thinking about it, I actually don’t think it’s insane, I think it’s human nature.
The desire to discover, to share, to challenge yourself is intrinsic. It’s in you. But sometimes you forget it’s actually there. Normal life gets in the way and you start thinking of yourself as a functional human rather feeling excited about your next discovery.
I also think that Pokémon GO shows you how much effort you can make towards something that is important to you. And how damn quickly you can do it if you really want. For the past week, I’ve observed people I know putting an astounding amount of time and effort into their game. And the look of joy on their faces shows that it’s not a burden making the effort.
I can only imagine what it would mean if that effort was put into something else that was important to them, such as a talent or life purpose.
Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not a Pokéhater. I’m not saying that Pokémon GO is something you shouldn’t do. We all need downtime and a fun hobby to feel refreshed. And it’s always a personal choice what each of us do with our lives.
But what is amazing to me is that Pokémon GO is reinvigorating people’s sense of discovery out in the real world. It is making people connect over a shared goal and purpose. And it is challenging them to make effort to something that is important.
I think that once the craze dies down a little, a lot of people are going to have a new set of re-awakened abilities that they can use to become whoever they want to be in the world.
Maybe Pokémon GO is the first piece of technology to actually inspire human achievement in the real world. I guess we shall see.
In the meantime, it’s sure fun watching all these people augment their reality.