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Are you too old to be playing Pokémon Go?

Pokémon Go is quickly taking over the world one country at a time. Gamers and non-gamers alike are playing it. Your friends play it, your co-workers, your siblings, the neighborhood kids, your mom, and maybe even your boss plays it. Many people who have knocked the game at first, shaking a fist to the heavens avowing they would never play are now a couple levels ahead of you, roaming the streets in search of those elusive little pocket monsters maybe a bit more fervently than you. What was once open disdain has evolved into shameless joy. That’s what this game does. Once you throw that first Pokéball and catch your first Pokémon- it’s all over, you’re hooked and you’re part of a community.

I had a conversation with my 37-year-old cousin I thought I would never have. We have been close for as long as I remember and I don’t think I have ever seen her play a video game. Perhaps she’s played some mobile games like Candy Crush or possibly Bejeweled, but even that I am not sure. I told her I was out of Poké Balls knowing her step-son had played it. She then proceeded to tell me that she now plays the game and that she knows where all the Poké Stops are in the next town over and that she’s been going to a local water tower, which is a stop I have been driving over to with my friends and by myself the past few days. I grinned with a chuckle knowing this was truly something unexpected and in my opinion…amazing.

I know my nephews, niece, younger cousins, and the kids I see scouring the sidewalks and parks play the game. That makes sense and is expected, but oddly enough, most of the “trainers” I know are adults. I could be wrong, but it seems as if there are more adults playing the game than the younger ones. Therefore, a lot of us elder trainers are talking about our experiences on our Facebook profiles, which triggers other reactions from other adults. You know how it is now, everyone has an opinion and they’re not afraid to share.

Many of those who do not play feel as though playing Pokémon Go as an adult is an incredibly immature and careless thing to do. These individuals will post memes or write their own posts bashing the game and those who play. “When everyone’s posting about Pokémon Go but you can’t relate cuz you’re not 10 and have sh*t to do.” “I don’t get this Pokémon crap.” “Pokémon is for kids.” “I played it for five minutes and then stopped. It’s stupid.”

I am fine with people saying or posting these things, voicing their opinions and concerns. It doesn’t bother me at all if someone doesn’t like what I like. We are all different and one should speak true to how they feel about something even if the whole world is into it. For those who are overwhelmed by it, I understand, it’s everywhere. Not to mention, some people have serious concerns with the real world dangers of playing the game. This I understand most of all. As another adult I get it.

Here are my thoughts on Pokémon Go. I really enjoy playing the game. I love the concept of bringing the game and characters into the real world using GPS. It’s like a country-wide scavenger hunt for anyone who has a smart phone. Whoever thought of this is a freaking genius. When I came across the first few Poké Stops in my immediate surroundings, I found these to be “land marks” I’ve grown up around, which I got a kick out of. Never thought I’d see the local water tower and elephant statue in a game. As a lifelong gamer, I am ecstatic to see all of this as a budding reality.

Despite all of this wondrousness, this game needs to be taken seriously. This game is introducing new concerns we must keep in mind no matter what age we are. Have fun and play the game, but make sure you are doing it the right way. As the game warns the player, be careful of your surroundings. You have to use common sense and be respectful of other people. This includes watching where you are walking while you are scanning for wild Pokémon, especially if you are crossing the road while looking at your phone. If there is a Poké Stop located at someone’s house, be respectful. Chances are they may be uncomfortable with having you and a bunch of strangers lingering in front or back of their house. It’s probably best to find a new stop unless the homeowner somehow communicates they are okay with visiting trainers. This is obvious, but it’s so important. Be careful if you are driving. It’s probably best not to drive and play, but use discretion here. I personally will not drive and look for Pokémon. I’ll have the game open to get some “walking” in when I’m driving around, but that’s about it. Also, be careful where you explore even if it’s an area you know well. People have used “lures” in the game to attract other trainers to rob them in reality. What a creepy new angle to gaming!

I’m sure there are other emerging concerns, but overall I believe this game has been such a positive experience for many of us. Many children and teens are getting more exercise than they’ve had in awhile; the game has brought many of us together in shared childlike glee, many of us lifelong gamers and diehard Pokémon fans are living the dream, and so many nongamers are also getting in on the fun, which I love.

That being said, I am going to keep enjoying and playing the game at 32-years-old, but I am going to be responsible and respectful about it and you should be too. It doesn’t matter how old you are if you are playing Pokémon Go. That’s your choice and it doesn’t matter what people say. Have a good time and ignore them. When it comes to people’s opinions no matter how old I get, I don't care if other adults or people think it's childish that I play games avidly. I am mature where it counts. I have responsibilities and priorities just like any other adult and those things for me come first. I play games and pursue my interests in my free time. I know how to have a balanced life and I am confident enough to choose to do what makes me happy over what the world thinks I should be doing at my age. So yeah, go out there and catch ‘em all and be the very best like no one ever was!

What do you think? Has anyone told you something like this recently? Comment below or let me know your thoughts on my social media.

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