Bear’s Saturday Mornings. It’s Pokemon Go Community Day!


Welcome to Bear’s Saturday Mornings. The weekly column where I take a look at the shows and movies my 5, soon to be 6, year old son has discovered on his own.

The local toy aisles at Walmart, Target, and the like are in the process of switching over to Christmas stock. A good time to discover what will be the hot hard to obtain toys in December and maybe get ahead of the game. We saw new toys for all his favorite YouTube shows – FGTeeV, Ryan’s Toy Reviews, Hobby Kids. Plus the cartoons Ben 10, Marvel toys, Legos and so on. But he wanted no part of going to stores today. He had one goal in mind: Community Day.

For those that don’t know:

Pokemon Go is an app game in which the player walks around in real life. As you walk various Pokemon appear and the player can catch them in the game. As you build up a collection of Pokemon players can get into gyms (picture a castle defended by Pokemon that can be taken over at any point during the day), trade with other players, and join larger groups to defeat “Legendary” (greater powered) Pokemon. We’ve played the game casually from the beginning but seriously over the last year.

Once a month the game announces a “Community Day”. One Pokemon out of the 100s in the game will appear more frequently for three hours. Catch as many as you can. This special monster of the hour can also have a special move, evolve, and most of all the variant will appear.  Near every Pokemon has an alternate version. Much rarer, one in thousands, that is usually just different in color but sometimes with other differences. These are called Shiny and will be highly coveted today.

Most of the time one or both of us have to work on these days and we can’t be a part of it. In July we realized day of that we were both off and made plans to be a part of it. This month we’ve been aware for a week that we can partake and have scheduled the whole family’s day around it.

I know, we’re ridiculous geeks with this little cult thing to enjoy. That’s what I thought too until we went to Community Day last month. We pick a nearby historical park that has 10 or so Poke-stops throughout the path. Lots of people in the area also go to this park because of the high concentration of stops in the game within a small area. July saw 300-500 people wandering around for the 4 hours. That’s one area in our town. Other people were walking around stops in different areas of town. Plus all of the players in the next town over, and the next, and the city over there. And literally around the world.

We run into familiar faces. See people we had no clue were also players. Strike up new conversations with strangers. I even get excited to talk to certain people even though I’ve forgotten their names. Joker Kid, Professor Jen, UA Tattoo. Not that I will address any of them by these nicknames, but I’m sure they will be there. (On the other side, my guess is I’m Comic Book Guy, Bear’s Dad, or possibly Hellions because that is my character’s name within the game.)

Yes, it is looking at a screen. I won’t deny that. But it is also going to be a way to get Bear out for 3 hours of summer sunshine. Interacting with people. Playing. Running around. Learning conversation skills. Learning how to behave properly in public and within a crowd. Not once complaining about any part of it.

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