In line with the release of Nintendo’s “Pokemon GO,” it is revealed that the gaming app has promoted physical, mental, and social aspects of health.
As a GPS-based gaming app, “Pokemon GO” encourages people to stay away from their chairs and beds and move. The game serves as a real-life journey to a Pokemon trainer, as he has to walk distances to find Pokemon, catch them, battle them, and level them up.
In an interview with CBC Calgary News, Dr. Raj Bhardwaj said a lot of the people that were playing were probably displacing a lot of sitting. He added that people knew that sitting was really bad for them and that activity and exercise at the gym would not undo the effects of eight or 12 hours of sitting around.
For Texas A&M College of Nursing clinical assistant and professor Matt Hoffman, the game serves as a regular exercise to people, as they have to “travel across the land” and “search far and wide,” as per the “Pokemon” theme song.
In his interview with NDTV, Hoffman said that what had begun as just playing the game had now become a hobby for him that provided certain health benefits. He also mentioned that he had spent an hour or two at a time venturing around the community to find Pokestops and to hatch one egg, a trainer must walk anywhere from one-six miles. He added that there was no doubt about it, that he was exercising more as a result of playing the game, and he was enjoying it.
“Pokemon GO” can also boost people’s social skills, as it brings people together, fostering interaction among them. This is heightened by the apps’ allegiance system, which requires app users to choose among Team Mystic, Team Instinct, and Team Valor. The three teams are represented by Kanto region’s legendary birds - the ice type Articuno, the lightning type Zapdos, and the fire type Moltres. While some view the system as divisive to Pokemon players, some believe that such feature would boost interaction among people.
In line with “Pokemon GO’s” social benefits, Hoffman said in the same interview that there was a sense of community when trainers converged in search of Pokemon or when they gathered together at Pokestops. He also said that the game was bringing people together, providing opportunity for social interaction and raising their sense of belonging, which could have positive impact on emotional and mental health.
In terms of mental health, its seems that the app has improved some issues on cases like anxiety and depression. In an interview with Fox News, evolutionary clinical psychologist and “Your Next Big Thing” author Ben Michaelis said that the game could provide motivation to go outside and explore the world through a sort of enhanced reality.
Michaelis added that the app could also provide people enough distraction from fears and an inner monologue to get them do something that might be challenging for them.
A case in point is the 18-year-old Tumblr user named Ari. In her interview with Buzzfeed, as cited by Fox News, Ari said that she had walked outside for hours and had suddenly found herself enjoying it. She added that she had had the instant rush of dopamine whenever she had caught a Pokemon and she had wanted to keep going.
“Pokemon GO” was released on July 6 and is accessible on iOS and Android, breaking app records globally. Meanwhile, fans are waiting for Nintendo’s seventh generation video game, “Pokemon Sun” and “Pokemon Moon,” which are slated to be released on Nov. 18. #Science #Society #Games