Gaming with Pokémon GO and aloha
My 9-year old son plays Pokémon GO, but I consider him more of a social player. He enjoys looking for Pokémon with his cousins, but he’s not as obsessed with finding them on his own. I like the extra walking he does, though I’m not a Pokémon player myself.
In just the short time Pokémon GO has been out, I’ve been bothered by the number of people I see who walk with their heads down, hunched over their phones. The idyllic park landscape of the Pokémon Go Map is so much cleaner and more tranquil than real life. It’s easy to see why you would stare at the screen as you walk instead of look around you.
In Hawaii, we try to drive with aloha and live with aloha, and I’d like to see us game with aloha. Players can do that already by just being aware their surroundings and acknowledging people they see as they hunt for Pokémon with eye contact and a smile.
I started thinking about how Pokémon could change mobile gaming – again. Maybe Niantic’s next innovation in the game will be Pokémon Greet, which would require not only steps tracked by GPS, but social interaction – having conversations with people in the real world.
Maybe the game would ask you Poké Qs, random questions (not personally-identifiable questions), like security questions, which would be stored in your gaming account. Maybe when you bump into another player, you would both have to accept the “Meet” – and then you would have to ask each other one of the random questions. Maybe one of your stored questions would come up on the screen (in case you forgot it), and you would have to type in other person’s answer – no electronic exchange of answers.
Maybe when you exchange answers, you would gain social credit, team points, or extra Poké balls. Maybe you could even share “aloha” by gifting a Poké Ball or a Poké Coin to people who answer more Poké Qs, or who are helpful or friendly.
Maybe social credit or team points could give you a small power boost in gym battles or let you play in a new “tag team” mode, with your Pokémon “tagging” another when they start to weaken.
The key is to make sure that people have physically safe and digitally secure interactions with others. That will ensure that we step with aloha – and game with aloha.
If you plan Pokémon GO, what do you like about it? What improvements would you make to the game? If you don’t play Pokémon Go, do you play other online, PC, or console games?