In merely a few short days, Pokmon Go has taken the world by storm. With millions of users heading outdoors to try and catch the elusive ogres, the rapid cultural impact of video games cant be denied: Pokmon Go has already had a revolutionary consequence on the reasons why I visit the river at night.
When I used to hang out on the riverbank after midnight, it wasnt to play an augmented reality game on my iPhone. It was for practical reasons, like to throw out sawdust, or my house got too hot and I wanted to submerge myself in the cool river mud. Now Im going down there to sling Pok Balls trying to nab a Poliwag , not just play my harmonica and think wistfully about that one time I considered a cat hurl itself off a cliff for no reason. Even when I have to do an unpleasant river chore, like sifting through the reeds for old printer cartridges for my cousin Felix, I find myself looking forward to the chance to place a rare Pokmon like Vaporeon.
Part of the transformative magic of Pokmon Go is that its a social experience. When I wander in the moonlit marsh grass, its not unusual to gratify other people also chasing after a rare Dratini or Lapras. Just a month ago, the only person I ever met at the river after the sun was downed was the boatman who never speaks as he rows me to the island where I bury my publications. And its all thanks to Pokmon Go.
But the game has its critics, too. Youve no doubt heard horror tales of distracted players walking into traffic while playing Pokmon Go. Ill admit that Ive tripped on a snapping turtle pit and fell an entire bucket of damp hairbrushes into the river muck while distracted by a wild Geodude. However, thats merely a testament to how immersive this augmented reality game can beits even gotten me to start going to the river during the day, something I had never done before.
Its important to remember that Pokmon Go is just an early entry in this exciting new genre. As game developers continue to blend virtual worlds with reality, in the future well maintain assuring new reasons for me to put on my sandals and night-vision goggles and head to the river. Personally, I cant wait.
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