Yesterday, I posted on Facebook stating that I didn’t care to know about the new app “Pokémon Go” game. 12-hours later, I found myself downloading the app after a friend convinced me to get it while he was taking me to the airport to catch a flight. Once I arrived at the airport, I downloaded the app and few hours later, I landed in Kansas City and with very little sleep, I found myself walking around the city with friends playing the game. I was fascinated by how, in just few days, a game on a phone had the power to get millions to join and be worth billions of dollars. So, I looked up some scientific research and I asked several players, “why do you like it?” Here are 3 fascinating lessons to learn from the “Pokémon Go” phenomenon:
1- Nostalgia Is Very Powerful:
Surprisingly, the main reason people say they like the game had to do with how it was bringing back precious childhood memories from the 1990’s. Nostalgia is a powerful thing. While technology and media is always pushing for new games, toys, and stories; the old familiar childhood sounds, characters, and images can trigger deeper emotions that new material can’t. Nostalgia experts explain that it can be a powerful force, “If nostalgia is in play, and it evokes this positive emotion . . . our brain can substitute the question, ‘Does this make me happy’ for ‘Is this a good game?’” says Dr. Jamie Madigan, author of the book “Getting Gamers: The Psychology of Video Games and Their Impact on People Who Play Them.”
Lesson #1 Application: Whatever platform you are part of, whether at work or ministry, remember that old familiar stories and activities can be more effective in reaching deep emotions. Using simple childhood stories to get a point across or playing an old board game can be more effective in getting a point across and triggering happiness.
2- The Deep Longing To Connect With Other Humans:
In a world where we are obsessed with individualism and independence, each of us have very different music playlists, use different source to get the news, and have unique followers and friends on social media. Unfortunately, that can lead us to feel lonely and disconnected. In our deep desire to feel connected with something greater than our personal world and customized gadgets, we develop the fear of missing out (FOMO) which causes us to feel the pressure to join and play as social media outlets have ongoing images and updates on the game.
Lesson #2 Application: Don’t underestimate the power of gathering people for a shared experience. Human interactions, in a unique and shared experience, is a deep desire that we all long for.
3- We Are Wired To Take On Challenges In The Real World:
Human beings have a long history of taking on challenges and stepping out of comfort to pursue a sense of success. Unlike other games, Pokémon Go did not only provide a challenge for the players, but it also combined it with going out in the real world and having real experiences while discovering neighborhoods and new territories. It is a myth to believe that virtual reality games can replace real-life experiences. Human beings are wired to go out and achieve and that’s why golfing, sightseeing, bird-watching have existed throughout the years.
Lesson #3 Application: Find and pursue challenges outside the walls of your job or home and don’t limit yourself to indoor hobbies. Whether it’s exploring new hiking trails or visiting new cities, make sure you create space in your life to unplug and go!
In Summary, as Pamela Rutledge, director of the Media Psychology Research Center in Newport Beach, California said it best, “The need to socialize with other people; the desire to go out and act on the world in a measurable way; and the need for competence and mastery, which is met by the game’s goal to “catch ’em all!”
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