Pokemon Go: what the world needs right now

Turn to your preferred news channel or visit your preferred news website. Now, watch or browse for just a couple of minutes.

More than likely you were swarmed by bad news. Upsetting news. Frustrating news. Confusing news.

Awful things happen every day, but usually, we’re able to view it from afar and think “I hope things will be ok for them,” or “they are in our thoughts.”

Within the last several weeks it seems just about everyone has shifted their focus from a “them/ they” mentality to a “we/us” one. These events are occurring in our own backyards and seemingly all at the same time.

If you kept up with the news in mid-July and early August, there is a chance you saw a news story about something else, something that wasn’t filled with dread.

Enter Pokémon Go.

The game from Niantic and The Pokémon Company has taken smartphones by storm, making it to worldwide news and just about everyone’s Facebook and Twitter feed.

If, for some reason, you still do not understand what Pokémon Go actually is, let me try to summarize it in one sentence:

Your phone is a GPS that leads you to Pokémon that you can catch and use to battle others.

For the past several years, governments and organizations all over have been pouring money into programs that encourage getting outside and playing. Turns out all it took was a decently made game featuring a name that everyone knows.

This has led to huge amounts of people leaving their couches and computer chairs to go outside and seek the pocket monsters, which leads to crossing paths with other players as well.

A video taken at Central Park in New York City documented a mob of hundreds of people swarming the park to catch a rare Pokemon.

A large group of people, all uniting in Central Park to catch a Pokémon. No violence, accidents or weapons, but instead, excitement, joy and laughter.

Even if you ignore the Pokémon Go factor, that is something worth admiring in today’s climate.

A Reddit user by the name of CodyE36 posted a picture of him and friends playing the game with their local law enforcement. America’s youth and police in an interaction that did not end controversially or tragically, but cheerfully.

And lastly, an image from an unknown source has made the rounds on various social media websites imploring players to drop “lures” near local children’s hospitals due to the fact that the children in the hospitals can not truly experience the game on their own.

“Lures” are an in-game item that players set to increase the amount of Pokémon that appear in a certain area, benefiting all players.

These are just a few examples of stories that are constantly coming from Pokémon Go players about meeting and interacting with new people and in some cases, making the day of a sick child.

While the tragic events that seem to constantly be occurring all over the world should not be met with a blind eye, Pokémon Go is offering an alternative.

It is a flawed game that has room for improvement and it will be a tall task for it to continue this level of buzz in the coming weeks and months.

However, when the next tragedy could occur in a split second, Pokémon Go is what the world needs right now.