My daughters got me playing Pokemon Go. I really don’t care much about it, I catch what I catch and level as fast as I level. I don’t much care about fighting at gyms, I don’t care if I catch them all because it’s virtually impossible to do so, but when we’re all out doing something and their noses are in their phones, at least we have something to talk about. But I’ve noticed something interesting, or maybe sad, about Pokemon Go players.Around where I work, there’s very little to do Pokemon Go-wise. There are only two Pokestops and virtually no Pokemon ever show up. One of them happens to be within distance of the place I go to lunch most days so I can ding it over and over again, but otherwise, there isn’t much to do and because there isn’t a ton to catch, I almost always have 80-100 Pokeballs available. But when I run low, I swing through the local museum parking lot near home, where there are 7 Pokestops, a gym and a ton of Pokemon hanging around. And I’m not remotely alone.
Every single time I have done this, no matter what time of the day or night I do it, there are tons of other people driving around in a circle, hitting Pokestops. And I mean a lot of other people. There are more people driving in that circle than there are going to the museum. Last night, there were 15 cars, plus a couple of people walking, going from Stop to Stop to Stop and that’s pretty much average.
Now I don’t want to be critical of Pokemon Go players, maybe it’s more a cultural thing, but if it wasn’t for this silly video game, I don’t think the museum would get much, if any, traffic at all. And it isn’t just the museum, I see the same thing at the city center, where all of the government offices are. They also have 4 Pokestops and every time I drive by, there is a long procession of cars driving around in a circle, pausing in front of each Pokestop for a few seconds to pick up new supplies and move on.
So what does that say about us as a society when there are more people playing a video game in front of the museum, or the public library, than there are utilizing those facilities? Is that as sad as I think it is? Weigh in.