Pokémon Go is already becoming a sensation, so much so that it’s hard to remember the last time a game (or at least a mobile game) generated this much attention. It’s a wonderfully inventive concept and an incredible way to make fans of the Pokémon games and TV show feel as if they’re actually on a quest to “catch ’em all.” That said, there are some legitimate safety concerns, both with children exhibiting reckless behavior in pursuit of pokémon and with the population as a whole having one more reason to be distracted while walking, driving, or otherwise going about everyday life.
There’s no question that Pokémon Go has broken down some sort of barrier in gaming. In a way, it used one of the most popular games of all time to bring virtual reality to people who don’t want to embrace actual virtual reality headsets just yet. Thus, a lot of people are (rightfully) celebrating it as a groundbreaking combination of gaming and the real world. But if you have some safety concerns or you (like me) have already had a few close calls tripping on curbs and whatnot while tracking wild Pidgeys and Weedles, it’s important to recognize that there are still some safer ways to blend your gaming habits with your real life. Here are a few, just to remind you that as creative as it is, Pokémon Go isn’t necessarily a sweeping first.
Try The Lighter Side Of VR
As virtual reality has become popular throughout 2016, the expensive headsets have grabbed most of the attention. Devices like the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and PlayStation VR represent high-end options and cost hundreds of dollars, but offer some pretty spectacular gaming experiences already. However, if you’re just interested in the concept of VR and some light, fun experiences (kind of like Pokémon Go), there are cheaper options. Among all the VR headsets you can buy, some are actually more like accessories than independent devices, costing relatively little and pairing with smartphones to simulate VR. Embracing one of these headsets is a nice way to experience the thrill of blending real life and gaming without having to go out and risk your safety hunting virtual creatures.
Experiment With Real Money Gaming
Even with a game as interactive as Pokémon Go, there’s not really anything at stake. You can fail to find a pokémon and just keep looking, or lose a battle with another trainer and simply try again. But like with most games, your actions are separated from reality, with no actual consequences. So if consequence is what you’re looking for, you might find safe (albeit financially risky) amusement in real-money gaming online. What a lot of people don’t realize is that this doesn’t just mean online poker. There are actually dozens of online casino games that basically function as slot machine and jackpot arcades with themes based on popular characters, TV shows, and films. The games are simple, and again, you’re risking real money when you play them, but for some this is the most effective way to blend the real world and video game entertainment.
Get A Workout
Long before pokémon invaded the real world, zombies did. Or at least they were used as the subject of a mobile game/workout tool that actually has a pretty brilliant premise. Basically, if you hate to exercise and/or you just really really love zombie-related entertainment, this game challenges you to get out and run—not because you want to, but because zombies are coming for you. It could stand to work out a few kinks but it’s essentially its own form of virtual reality and makes for an effective blend of reality and gaming.
Play Multiplayer In Person
This is a more basic suggestion, but still one worth bearing in mind. Remember when we used to think “multiplayer” meant a few people playing on the same console? While online multiplayer has actually proven to be a positive social development for a lot of people, it still results in you sitting alone and staring at a screen, essentially immersing yourself in a game. Try multiplayer the old-fashioned way and you may be surprised how much fun you have when actually hanging out with friends while gaming.
Try An App Without Visuals
If you want the Pokémon Go experience of feeling like your game has taken over your actual world, but you don’t want to go out and wander the neighborhood, there are multiple mobile games that may satisfy that need. Papa Sangre and its sequel were the first such games to gain prominence, but DOWINO’s A Blind Legend has also emerged as a remarkable audio-only video game. Operating purely with sound and touch controls, the game takes you through the adventure of a blind knight. And if you play it in bed with the lights off, there’s no telling where your world ends and the knight’s begins. Make no mistake, Pokémon Go can be played safely, and it can certainly be enjoyed. But if you have your doubts about it and are curious about other available games that blur the lines of reality, these are a few to think about.