Pok̩mon Gone

TGIF MARtians!

Pokémon Go. It’s everywhere! But, what is it all about?

After a couple of weekends of her kids disappearing to hunt cute catchable monsters called Pokémon, my assistant Lauren downloaded Pokémon Go. Heard of it? Now she is hooked. On a recent trip to NBC CT studios for my “Monday with Mar” segment, she had the phone out excitedly searching for and finding new Pokémon to catch. (Don’t worry. I was driving.) They were everywhere!

For those who do not have kids in the house, Pokémon Go is an augmented reality game based on the Japanese bug-hunting craze. The app then uses your location information to make Pokémon materialize in your vicinity. Then you go and catch them! What a clever way to encourage exercise, and it seems to have caught on, too. With over 30 million downloads (10 million of which occurred within seven days,) Nintendo stock is up 96% since early July.

This game has garnered a lot of press lately – some good, some not so good. It has been fun watching videos of masses of people coalescing to catch a “Charizard” on a pier in California. It is also concerning, as some folks have gotten carried away driving while Pokémon -ing or trespassing to make a catch. A woman even found a dead body while hunting Pokémon.

You can catch different Pokémon at different times of day, in different places. Starting is easy but continued play can get really complicated. Thankfully, there’s a lot of info on the web, if you’re so inclined.

Here are a few useful Pokémon Go tips for newbies like me:

  • Carry a battery. The app can be a battery hog.
  • Don’t Pokémon and drive.
  • Stay off private property.
  • The tab in the lower right corner of the screen will show you what Pokémon are nearby. Tap it to hone in on your desired catch.
  • Swipe a Poke ball at the Pokémon you wish to catch. Aim inside the circle around the Pokémon.
  • There are several types of Pokémon, water, grass, rock, flying, etc. Like your stock portfolio, it pays to diversify.

So, should I let this cultural phenomenon pass me by without a backward glance? Or should I join in give it a try? And as always:

Keep It Casual!