In a world where everything is available at the touch of a button, it seems as though we are spending more time staring at a screen than venturing outdoors. Bizarrely, it’s a virtual reality game that is getting people all over the world off their couches and out into the fresh air. Pokémon Go has people out and about, searching through every nook and cranny of their neighbourhood for their next Pikachu, Jigglypuff or Snorlax.
Cape Town Partnership’s Writer and Social Media Manager Kaylon Koeries, a part time Pokémon Catcher himself, says, “It has gotten people walking in the city, exploring spaces and places they would otherwise pay little or no attention to. It has also made a generation of Capetonians that would previously be less social, interact with each other.”
He continues, “More people are realising that we have great public spaces dotted throughout the city. The majority of the Pokéstops and gyms are either monuments with historic value or public art. By interacting with them through the game, they are being inserted into the consciousness of players, who are now more aware of these landmarks and more likely to find out about, or question, their prominence.”
In addition to discovering their cities, Pokémon Go users have found that they have become a lot more active. An article on Daily Dot speaks about how the journalist discovered that he walked 10 kilometres in one day thanks to the game.
Zombie, Run! also has people moving more. Targeted at those looking for a more exciting running or jogging experience, this app has a variety of different missions involving zombies which surround the player, who then has to run from them.
Geocaching is yet another example of how virtual reality games are getting city dwellers to explore their cities in search of treasure. Players are encouraged to go hunting for treasure in their areas in order to discover real, hidden containers filled with small items that can be traded with other players.
Besides being great for rediscovering our cities and for one’s health, businesses have also seen the benefit of this virtual phenomenon. According to an article published on AFK Insider, an unofficial Pokémon Go event took place at Montecasino recently at which 600 people were in attendance. Seeing the business potential, Mugg & Bean offered all players a 10% discount on their bill, keeping staff very busy due to the deluge of Pokémon Go players that came through their door.
If you haven’t already, get in on the trend – download your favourite virtual reality game and start exploring your city!