Pokémon Go is taking the world by storm, nowhere has embraced it more than the residents of the City of Cockburn. This interactive game is based around you as a Pokémon trainer walking in your community and ‘catching’ creatures from the popular card game and cartoon from the 1990’s. At its core, it is a game that merges a traditional treasure hunt with a fantasy world, it is where the arts meets tech. Many of you will have seen Pikachu and maybe even a Bulbasaur on TV, but no one was ready for the resurgence of Pokémon to the level that it is today (Check out their stock price!). Here are the 5 benefits to playing Pokémon in the City of Cockburn.

1. Gets you out and about.

Part of the game is moving towards areas where there are plentiful creatures to take as part of your Pokedex – an inventory of the monsters you collect. The majority of these creatures are in public areas like parks, shopping centres and libraries. Some players are reporting huge increases in their activity levels, claiming that the pursuit of Pinsir, Eevee and other pocket sized monsters is increasing cardio vascular efforts and decreasing waistlines. The kicker is – the walking has been accepted. The lure of catching those elusive creatures permits the physical exertion that goes with ‘catching them all’.

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2. Improvement to Mental Health.

If you picture the traditional video gamer, you see a dark, small, un-kept room in a suburban house, struggling to beat a multi levelled, 3D game on an over sized TV. It doesn’t really paint a picture of health or an active social life. In the case of Pokémon GO, these traditionally agoraphobic gamers are out playing an Augmented Reality game amongst hundreds of like-minded people. Suddenly they are enjoying the outdoors, chatting with other people about common interests and enjoying the outside world – I wonder how long it will be before we hear of the first engaged couple who met chasing a Pokémon in Perth?!

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3. Map Reading

Let’s face it, if Matthew Flinders and James Cook were playing Pokémon GO, we would all just be playing for scraps. People these days are so reliant on Siri or Google Maps to tell them where to go rather than working it out for themselves. This game is all map based, figuring out point A to B to C quickly can mean the difference between adding an amazing Pokémon or an average one. Whether it is in the car or walking, I think more map reading and understanding can only be a good thing.

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4. Learn what is in your local area.

If you read the Cockburn Gazette or follow the City of Cockburn Facebook page, you will see the City is thriving with new public offerings. From Port Coogee to the new Cockburn ARC, you will see exciting projects everywhere. Pokémon GO is set up as an all-inclusive game, probably to maximise in app purchases I’m sure, so Poke Stops, a place to score free supplies and a place where Pokémon are lured to, are generally in public places. We are lucky enough to have some of the best public spaces in Perth – Coogee Beach, Manning Park, Bibra Lake or Thomson’s Lake are great open spaces to enjoy on a regular basis, combine an addictive augmented reality game into that and you have something awesome.

Some of the best places in Cockburn also have the best Poke Stops – The Youth Centre based near Cockburn Gateway Shopping City is a Virtual Mecca for Pokémon players, all three Cockburn Libraries have Poke Stops, often with intermittent lures going off, with gyms close by. Most of the public art in the city is being highlighted in the game as a Poke Stop – This brings a new reason to stop and admire the many statues, paintings and murals all over the city. Let’s hope the new underwater maritime trail attracts a few Pokémon players with water resistant phones!

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5. Bring Back the 90’s

We can’t bring back some of the cool things from the 90’s like Muncheros, VN Commodore wagons or Peter Sumich in his prime, but it really is amazing to relive the glory years of the 90’s with Pokémon again.

Whether reliving your youth makes you feel young or old, there is something comforting about seeing the pop icons of when you were young and impressionable. With the technology we are exposed to, Pokemon Go can engage nostalgia much like listening to an old song or smelling something your nanna used to bake.

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Go Pokeball! by Shannon

Image: CC BY 2.0. Go pokeball! (cropped); Original by Shannon