Even if you are not familiar with the ins and outs of the media franchise known as Pokemon, the chances are good that you’ve at least heard the name. Created in 1995, Pokemon began as a video game for the humble Nintendo Game Boy handheld called Pokemon Red.
In it, players traverse a mythical land, trying to catch “pocket monsters” of widely varied appearance and ability, then “train” them to defeat other monsters in battle. It’s since spawned a legion of video games, animated television series, trading cards, and other media, becoming the second most successful video game–based franchise in the world. It’s second only to Nintendo’s Mario series.
9 Its Players Are Getting A Ton Of Exercise
Even though Pokemon will appear randomly around your house, players know that the way to get the best use of the game is to venture into the outside world. As they wander around, Pokemon appear on their GPS map. Then the game switches to a real-world view — provided by the phone’s front camera — with your target animated onto the real terrain. Players then throw balls at their targets — “Pokeballs,” of course — which capture and contain them.
If all of this sounds like a lot of exercise, it is. And even though gamers are a stereotypically lazy bunch, it’s not slowing them down one bit. During the game’s first weekend of release, social media was swamped with users complaining (mostly jokingly) about their sore legs and proclaiming the obsolescence of their gym memberships.
While this is not without precedent, Pokemon Go is notably not a physical fitness or sports-themed game. It seems that the key to the oft-repeated parental refrain of “Get off that couch and go outside!” was to create a must-have game that actually requires players to do so.