The Orion

Go-ing Outside

Kenta Mcafee

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Video games might have a bad reputation for creating couch potatoes, but one app has proved that gamers will even walk outside if it means leveling up.

As most people sleep at 2 a.m. I run three miles while frantically pursuing a dream of my own, to be the very best.

I’m no athlete and I’m certainly not obsessed with becoming one. My tired legs and sleep deprived eyes are just a casualty of the massively popular app, “Pokémon Go.”

After almost two decades of waiting, the virtual world where I can capture my own Pokémon has finally materialized and like the majority of its millions of users, I’m hooked.

Although the app has had problems with its servers, public safety and developers, it has quickly become more than a game in the eyes of avid players.

As I watch the game fail to load, run into the occasional street pole and curse the company behind it all (Niantic). The only thing I can think of while playing is how much of the town I’ve explored by trying to reach the next Pokéstop.

Other people dedicated to “Pokémon Go” are sharing the same nonexistent sleep cycles as me, and are staying downtown through out the night.

Being up past midnight and blocking public pathways seems hardly like a benefit; however, it gives the town a safer feel as vigilantes in the form of Pokémon trainers unknowingly patrol the streets.

As the game continues to become more competitive with players and Pokémon leveling up, it has begun to discourage new players from downloading the app.

For veteran players the persistent need to keep playing exists solely out of fear of being left behind, rather than the coveted accomplishment of catching them all.

While my waistline has reaped the benefits from my “Pokémon Go” addiction, the popular app is beginning to fall out of popularity because of its problems. With the app’s regional restrictions on Pokémon and the consistent level-grinding, catching new Pokémon is the real test of the game.

Although I’m sure I’ll never have the heart to delete the game and abandon the Pokémon I chased for miles, I’ve felt less adventurous during the late hours of the night. Even with the year of exercise I’ve put in these past two months, the depleting number of people playing the game shows that “Pokémon Go” is just a fading trend.

Kenta McAfee can be reached at [email protected] or @KentaMcAfee on Twitter.

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Go-ing Outside