Pokémon Go! for Seniors: Fad, Folly or Fun?

“Get off my lawn!” So goes the cliché we so often hear of seniors berating members of the younger generation for real or perceived transgressions. But recently a cell phone based game app called Pokémon Go! has leveled the playing field, giving folks of all ages the opportunity to annoy others in a quest to capture illusive virtual critters.

Pokémon Go! logoUnless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last two weeks, by now you’ve probably heard of this craze that reportedly has people riveted to their phone screens as they wander unaware into oncoming traffic or off of cliffs. Or maybe you’ve heard the scary stories of people lured into dark corners or seedy alleys in search of Pikachu, only to be mugged by nefarious evildoers? Or (more likely) you’re just already sick and tired of hearing about something that came out of nowhere to capture the public’s attention, with nothing to offer for you or your lifestyle. Before you stop reading this post or block the next friend that mentions this silly game, why not take just a minute to ponder whether, once the hype subsides, there might be the kernel of something beneficial for active older adults?

This first thing you should know is that Pokémon itself isn’t new. It started as a trading card game in the late ‘90s, and was extremely popular with the kiddos of that era, today’s young “millennial” adults. In that format it never really went away. Over the years leagues have been formed, tournaments held and championship trophies awarded. But, crucial to its current success, it was also developed into a video game. On a parallel chronological track, cell phones became sophisticated hand-held computers with GPS mapping capabilities. A couple of game apps rolled out that resembled scavenger hunts, but they never quite caught on. They needed a catchier theme. Thus the stage was set for the gigantoid pop culture phenomenon we now call Pokémon Go!

So, is this just one more flash-in-the-pan fad that seniors should dismiss as another Pet Rock? Maybe not. At its most basic level, Pokémon Go! is about getting out of the house, breathing fresh air, walking for exercise and (possibly) social engagement – all things that we here at Busier Now believe in! This video does a nice job of briefly summarizing the game and some of these benefits, and offers a few words of caution for keeping safe while playing:

We can envision lots of other types of games that could be adapted to this sort of “virtual” experience, and given the success that this one has enjoyed they almost certainly will be. So why not keep an open mind and see if this type of activity might be fun for you?

If you’ve tried this game or want to, feel free to leave a comment below. Or better yet, why not start a Pokémon Go! thread in the forums! So long for now, and happy hunting!


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