Pokémon GO turned me into a birder

Games can lead to obsession and to action

Pokémon GO turned me into a birder

Niantic celebrated the 25th anniversary of Pokémon earlier last week, using the occasion to roll out an extensive event on its mobile game, Pokémon GO. The shape of most of their events are a series of timed challenges where you have to do a handful of actions — catch, power up, or evolve a certain number of Pokémon, use a certain number of power-ups, or fight challengers or in gyms in order to gain experience points, level up, and advance in the game. The game also generally requires you to get out of the house and explore your neighborhood, visiting stops to stock up on the items you need to catch the little digital creatures.

Lifehacker liked this essay, and has reprinted it, with some edits, here.

Ultimately, though, the game encourages collection: each Pokémon is numbered, has a certain ability level, and usually also has a variant known as a “shiny”, which spawn on the map at a low rate.

I’ve been playing the game for a couple of years now, ever since Bram got interested in Pokémon from his friends at daycare. Early on, we walked around town to look for new creatures that we hadn’t yet discovered, and slowly advanced in the game.

Andrew Liptak @AndrewLiptakBram, upon opening Pokémon Go this afternoon: “Hello, my friends!”

June 28th 20181 Retweet

It’s a cute diversion, but one of the unexpected outcomes for me is that it’s made me more acutely aware of the natural world around us, and helped push me into becoming a casual birder.