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Summer Fun: Pokémon GO and Minecraft for Young Urbanists

Do video games have anything to teach kids? Hazel Borys says yes, in moderation.
August 4, 2016, 7am PDT | Scott Doyon
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Aitor Serra Martin

"'Mom, I need to walk 10k today,' coming from my 11-year old this morning almost gave me whiplash, as I turned to look at him to ensure an alien wasn’t inhabiting his body. In fact, there was one, if you view Pokémon as other-worldly. The playful new video game, Pokémon GO, is distracting kids and grown-ups alike with an augmented reality (AR) that requires walking with friends, visiting places of cultural and economic significance, and “capturing” Pokémon as they appear on the sidewalk by “hitting” them with virtual balls. By level five of the game, you’re able to join a team and visit local virtual “gyms” to practice or spar. The walking 10k comment was about hatching Pokémon eggs, each of which require walking either two, five, or ten kilometers."

"The reviews on this wildly popular one-month-old game are mixed, with some people complaining that kids are walking around like zombies, dogs are exhausted, grown-ups are invading private property and thronging parks in search of Pokémon, and one woman got hit by a car while being distracted by playing the game. All valid complaints, although in our household a few simple rules – like no looking at your phone while crossing the road and pausing to talk about the places of note that we find – do away with most of the issues. Except privacy, of course! Nonetheless, 100 million people have downloaded the game, are buying $10 million a day on the app, and are significantly increasing foot traffic in their home towns."

Borys goes on to talk about how PokéMon GO and Minecraft video games might be able to assist in city planning.

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Published on Tuesday, August 2, 2016 in PlaceShakers
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