In hopes to make this post about Pokémon Go seem a bit different than the previous 30 Pokémon Go posts you have seen today, I would like to issue a challenge to you.
Either turn to your preferred news channel or open a new tab and visit your preferred news website. 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 few 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.
While you were watching or browsing your preferred news outlet, 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.
(Special shout out to Boktai: The Sun is in Your Hand developed by Konami for the Game Boy Advance, a game that had a built in photometric light sensor that used sunlight to charge the weapon in game, encouraging players to go outside. You had a great idea, just not the billion dollar name)
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.
The most extreme case that I have seen of this is what Vimeo user Woodzys documented at Central Park in New York City.
A large group of people, all uniting in Central Park to catch a Pokémon. No violence, accidents, or weapons, but excitement, joy, and laughter.
Even if you ignore the Pokémon Go factor, that is something worth admiring in today's climate.
Here's a picture from Reddit user CodyE36 captioned, "The cops were playing Pokemon go with us last night."
And lastly, this image from an unknown source has been making the rounds on various social media websites.
"Lures" are an in-game item that players set to increase the amount of Pokémon that appear in a certain area, benefiting all players.
Reddit user juttep1 said in a comment regarding the above photo, "Can confirm. Working at a Childrens hospital now. Literally took my patient's phone today to catch him a Pokemon. He was elated. These poor kids just wanna play but have a hard time since they're on lock down."
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.