Now, let me be the first to admit, I’ve never been one to get into fads. Especially not fads revolving around games. But Pokemon Go has got me hooked.
Last week I was assigned to “spend time with Pokemon Go players in Milwaukee” so I took to the streets with my camera, my recorder and my iPhone and see where the night would take me. And after two days filled with Pokeballs and too many Rattatas, I realized something surprising: Pokemon Go might actually be helping Milwaukee.
Both nights I was joined by “Pokemaster” JohnnyRobots (avatars are all that really counts at this point, right?) and walking up and down the streets of Milwaukee, chasing modules and throwing Pokeballs, we quickly realized one thing: we weren’t alone.
No matter where we were, we were almost immediately greeted by fellow Pokemon-players excited to share “there’s a Squirtle here!” or “have you checked out the South Side yet?” At one point there was even a couple that didn’t speak English that waved us down to excitedly show us something on their screen.
You've got lawyers standing next to kids and teachers next to teenagers: through throwing Pokeballs people are rediscovering each other.
And it didn’t matter the age, race or gender: people were talking.
“You go out at the lunch hour and you’ve got lawyers standing next to kids, and teachers next to teenagers. Through throwing Pokeballs, people are rediscovering each other.”
And now, am I saying Pokemon Go is going to completely reunite Milwaukee? Probably not.
But from what I’ve narrowed down, it seems that one game has successfully managed to get people out in the community, visiting local landmarks and pieces of art, and, most importantly, given people a platform to connect and talk to one another.
So is it a step in the right director? I’d like to think so.
Check out my full piece with “Pokemaster” JohnnyRobots in the audio player above.