How can Pokemon Go bring communities together?

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Kathryn Draney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If you take a moment to head to your local park, you will probably spot clumps of people stooped over their phones. This is due to the latest app craze—Pokemon Go—and the vast number of people it has affected. 

Pokemon was originally created as a franchise in 1995, and was popularly sold as a game on the original Game Boy handheld system. That means that the original players of the game are about 21 years older now than they were when the games first became popular. If we assume that the majority of original Pokemon players were between the ages of 10 and 20, we can conclude that those original players are now in their 30s and 40s. Those long-time Pokemon fans make up a large portion of current Pokemon Go players. This means that the game has appeal for people in the middle stages of their life—rather than solely appealing to younger generations, as many video games aim to do.

However, the appeal does not stop there. We also have to take into account people who became fond of the franchise after the original games were released (since many versions have been periodically created). There are also young children who play the game on their parents' phones—children who never encountered the franchise prior to the Pokemon Go app.

These demographics mean that Pokemon Go has strong appeal to a wide range of people between the ages of childhood to adulthood, and possibly even beyond that.

People of all races, genders, orientations, and personalities play the game. Some people have waited years for the game, and some people only discovered the game when it was released a few weeks ago. The main point here is that there isn't a single "type" of person that Pokemon Go targets. Anyone can enjoy the game.

Now if we look back at the local park scenario, we can see a beautiful thing happening: people of all ages, races, and types stand together to talk about the thing they have in common: an app. Pokemon Go players have achieved a stunning sense of community simply by all participating in a game that they individually enjoy. They tell each other about interesting Pokemon finds, and they go to find the Pokemon that are indicated to be nearby on the app's map. These players share phone chargers, snacks, and smiles. Young children yell that they found a starfish, and the older generations laugh because they know that the Pokemon's real name is Staryu.

Many citizens who experience social disorders or other illnesses also find refuge in their ability to share the game with others. The game gives people a reason to communicate and be friendly without borders. The magic of the game lies not in the ability to catch Pokemon in the real world but rather in the ability to unite all of the players from various backgrounds under one common title: Pokemon Trainers.

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