Even if you have no idea what a Pokémon is, you’ve probably heard about Pokémon Go, the tremendously popular game for mobile devices released July 2016 in the U.S. Many joke about the players of this game, but if you take a moment to look into how it works, one thing becomes apparent: it’s a really great game for RVers.
This game is all about getting outside and walking around.
The basic premise of Pokémon Go is to collect as many of the eponymous creatures as possible (the name comes from “POcKEt MONsters”). It’s based on GPS and online maps, so as players move around in the real world, they find new monsters. There is a lot more to it, but basically the game requires walking around outside. You can’t make real progress in the game without leaving the couch – frequently! This makes it a kind of “anti-video game”.
RVing and Pokémon Go hand-in-hand.
Whether you only use an RV on solo vacations or your family lives full-time in your rig, there are compelling reasons to try this game.
- It’s free. In-app purchases are available for those impatient to advance, but you never have to spend a cent.
- It encourages you to get outside regularly. Even nature lovers sometimes get stuck on the couch. The game can provide motivation to get you (or your kids) out for a walk around the campsite, or to explore your area beyond the familiar bounds of the RV park.
- Different types of Pokémon appear in different environments. Some are near water, others near parks, others frequent universities, etc. If you only play the game in one location, you’ll just catch the same few Pokémon over and over. So in order to “catch ‘em all”, players will want to travel to a variety of places. Perfect for RVers who are always someplace new!
- Game resupply points are near landmarks – not only major tourist destinations, but also minor local features. So players will find the huge number of small historical plaques and pieces of art scattered around our cities that are usually overlooked.
- The game moves at the player’s pace so it can be easily set aside for days or weeks without fear of “getting behind”.
- Families can play together; in fact, they can cooperate to capture and defend “gyms” in the game more effectively than a solo player could.
- Game mechanics are involved enough that parents can get into it (just check out the detailed tools and strategies at PokeAssistant), but kids can just ignore those details and still enjoy themselves.
Like any good thing, Pokémon Go can have downsides.
Some of the pitfalls of playing the game are:
- Since it is usually played while walking, there are plenty of stories of players injured through inattention to their environment, though it’s not really any different than walking and texting.
- The constant use of GPS is a big drain on phone battery life. While there are ways to help this, your phone will definitely need more frequent charging.
- A cell/data signal is required to play. Although the actual data usage is pretty light, if you’re out of cell range you can’t play.
- In-game supply points and new Pokémon are generally focused on population centers. So if you spend most of your time wild camping in remote spots, the game will be a lot less exciting.