Random Things to Do

How Pokemon Go got my husband to go out and explore his city

Pokemon Go - Edmonton - Murals and Art

“I can’t wait until we go downtown again.”

Mike (my husband) has never said this to me – until now.

He comes from a tiny town northwest of Edmonton and for as long as I’ve known him (7+ years) he’s never initiated a trip downtown. Or really anywhere.

In our relationship, I’m definitely the one responsible for getting us out and about – doing and seeing this and that, eating here and there.

He’s a great sport – who very willingly comes along (and poses for the many photos I like to take lol) but it was only when Pokemon Go came out this week, that Mike actually started asking me if I wanted to go places.

Pokemon Go - Edmonton - Murals and Art
Lots of local Edmonton landmarks, businesses, park signs, churches and art work/mural on Pokemon Go!

Pokemon Go is the newest Pokemon video game – a phone app that gets you to collect Pokemon (these cute little monsters) and battle other Pokemon.

What makes Pokemon Go different from past Pokemon games is its augmented reality feature.

There’s this great article I read about how Pokemon Go is a bad Pokemon game (compared to previous Pokemon games) but it wins at augmented reality.

Using Google Maps/AR technology, when you play, you’re literally walking through your world – real buildings, landmarks, and roads are highlighted, and through your phone screen, you ‘see’ Pokemon appear in your surroundings.

The concept of the game actually started as an April Fools’ Day joke!

It’s really gotten people out and about.

I think girlfriends/wives/partners of Pokemon Go trainers are likely all experiencing this same phenomenon!

In the last three days, my husband has initiated of his own free will – more trips to see more of our neighbourhood – and our city – than he has in all his time with me pre-Pokemon Go.

  • “Hey remember when you wanted to go to that foot bridge? Let’s go.”
  • “Let’s drive down Jasper Ave. instead.”
  • “I’m going for a walk around the block.”
  • “Did you know that building was called the Rotary Sea Life Mural? Pokemon Go told me.”

It’s actually been really entertaining!

How awesome that a game can get people out off the couch and out of their house, walking around (fitness!) and exploring where they live.

I think it’s really cool that Niantic (the company who created this augmented reality adventure) has gone through and created these Poke Stops and Gyms in real locations all over the world.

It’s not even just major landmarks that are tied to this augmented world – I’ve found that Pokemon Go has proven to be a great art walk app too – highlighting murals all over the city!

We’ve even seen electric boxes that have art work on them, and if you tap into the different stops, you get a bit of an explanation about the landmark/artwork/etc.

Pokemon Go - Edmonton - Murals and Art
Lots of local Edmonton landmarks, businesses, park signs, churches and art work/mural on Pokemon Go!

I think local businesses who now find their building a Poke Stop, a Gym, or just a popular spot for particular Pokemon, should take advantage of the hype and see how they can welcome Pokemon trainers in.

Pokemon Go - Edmonton - Murals and Art mikethyking
Catching Pokemon while Mike drives!

It’s been a lot of fun watching Mike play (and catching a few Pokemon myself through his app – late last night I decided to download it myself too).

It’s also been fun reading all sorts of hilarious Pokemon Go stories that have been shared since the game launched.

Here are a few of my favourites:

There have also been some more serious Pokemon Go-related news, including a girl finding a dead body while exploring on her app, teens mugging Pokemon Go players, and a story on how Pokemon Go could be a death sentence for black people :-(

I also found this story interesting – about a man living in a converted church (churches are very popular Pokestops in the game) who has had countless Pokemon trainer visitors since the game launched – and how Niantic doesn’t really let people dispute having their homes or businesses be included in the game.

Pokemon Go - Edmonton - Murals and Art mikethyking
Mike and the dogs on the hunt for Pokemon.

There’s a whole bunch of safety concerns with Pokemon Go as well (don’t catch Pokemon while you’re driving! Be aware of your surroundings) but overall, so far, Mike and I have had a lot of fun and it’s been really great seeing my husband so interested in getting out and exploring our city.

If you’re wondering how we were able to get Pokemon Go (when it hasn’t been formally released in Canada yet), we did it by signing up for a U.S. iTunes account.

So have you played Pokemon Go yet?

Know someone who has?

Let me know if it’s made them more active and involved in their surroundings! lol


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Linda Hoang is an Edmonton blogger who writes about food, travel, lifestyle/events and pets. She's also a social media/digital specialist with a journalism background. Linda is in love with her city and loves exploring and promoting Edmonton and other places she visits with her husband Mike. Linda is also the founder of the Edmonton International Cat Festival (and has 2 cats herself, along with 2 dogs).

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