Pokemon Go is the latest installment in the two decade long gaming craze.

Pokemon Go is not simply an extension, it’s an expansion. From all initial signs this first week of beta testing, it’s closer to an explosion.

The Pokemon Go Craze

Pokemon came to American in the 1990s and has hung in there as far as a relevant game.

The basic premise of the game is to travel the world and capture monsters called Pokemon. In order to capture a pokemon you must first find a wild pokemon, then wear it down using your trained pokemon, then attempt to  capture the weakened pokemon in a pokeball. That monster joins your cohort and you continue the journey. It’s fitting that Pokemon’s tagline is: “Gotta catch ’em all”.

The difference with this newest installment is the Pokemon Go app uses the GPS and clock from your phone, as well as your camera, to simulate a pokemon hunt in real life. Sound odd?

It’s called augmented reality. In his article for Vox Explainers German Lopez gives some pretty fantastic examples sampled from the riches of the inter web and social media.

A personal favorite of mine: “When you get pulled over, but you gotta catch ’em all”

pokemon Go: it can be a problem
12:22am, July 8, 2016   pc: sethary @seth_cordaro

This isn’t just a big deal in the gaming world. The  Wall Street Journal ran an article on it today and spiked the value of the parent company of Pokemon, Nintendo, over $9 billion in the last week. Yes, you read that right. A free app has spiked the value of Nintendo $9 billion in under a week! 

Pokemon Go: A Big Deal for Parents and Gamers

So what’s the big deal for gamers?

  • Pokemon Go is interactive
  • It’s augmented reality, so it feels a bit more like real life!
  • Gamers my age get to relive their childhood. Nostalgia: +1
  • It’s a free download
  • Pokemon go is as social, as agame can get as far as content and interactivity
  • Game content is safe other than the monster fighting
  • there’s a massive buzz around this game on social media – simply too many funny options to pass up
  • Look where you’re going! Just don’t go running into the street looking for that bulbasaur!

What do parents need to know?

  • Pokemon Go is interactive and safe in areas of adult content, swearing, drugs, sex, religion.
  • The violence that is in the game is cartoon animation. No blood. No death. Worst case a creature faints.
  • Pokemon Go has a high propensity to become addictive. Their tag line (and theme song): “Gotta catch ’em all”
  • It is intended to be played everywhere: This means it’s hard to put safe borders on time / thought / usage
  • Pokemon Go uses micro-transactions. They are already bringing in $1.6 million a day.

 

What does all this mean in light of the gospel?

  • Pokemon is a fun game. We must treat it like one.
  • A God who loves us seeks relationship: Anything that get in the way of that is not good.
  • Not everything that is ok (no morally wrong) is ok for everyone. (1 Cor. 10:23) If I can play with a healthy heart and mind, I’m all good!
  • Some people, like myself, may have to avoid even cool and good things because we can’t participate in a healthy way. (Mat. 5:29)
  • Humility is key. When we play too much, when we ignore those God puts in our life, we must acknowledge it. (1 Pet. 5:6)

Challenge Questions: Parents and Gamers

  • Where is your limit? Video games can be an easy place to seek satisfaction and meaning. How will you know when you’ve played enough? Where is the line for too much?
  • What boundaries will you put in place? When we find ourselves prioritizing play over those around us, what changes will we make?
  • Are you playing for the right reasons? In a game that’s all about taking, getting and winning, are we enjoying the fun, not the greed? Practice makes permanent. Our hearts are affected by evening our gaming choices.
  • Who are some people you can connect with in a meaningful way through this game? This game is built around being interactive. God is a God of relationship. Go out an love someone through a video game today.