Nintendo has been a pioneer in the gaming industry for forever and a day but things have been rough for them over the last couple of years. Not only had sales plummeted but they also lost long-time programmer, developer, and company president, Satoru Iwata, just over a year ago. If it wasn’t for the massive success of the Nintendo 3DS, who knows whether the Japanese company would still be a contender.

Several months ago, Nintendo announced that they would be focusing on mobile applications and, really, most people rolled their eyes. What could be new or trailblazing about a mobile app?

Fast-forward to today. You’ve likely noticed people aimlessly walking around with their phones out, looking around in search of … what? How about the cars that slow down in random spots for just a few seconds—then  speed off again? Only someone who has been living under a rock doesn’t know that these folks are under a spell cast by Nintendo—they’re playing Pokemon Go.

What is Pokemon Go, Exactly?

The game uses GPS capability to allow users to find, catch, battle, and train Pokemon as if they are appearing in real-life. It’s pretty amazing. Considering how widespread its use is (so far, it’s been downloaded more than 75 million times!), it’s hard to believe that Pokemon Go was only released on July 6, 2016.

Why It’s Genius

First of all, Pokemon has been around for a long time so Nintendo was brilliant to take advantage of an obviously loyal—and nostalgic—fan base.  Little kids like to play, but it’s the forty-year-olds who are really obsessed. It’s a game that crosses generations and has captured the attention of people from all walks of life. It’s also getting people up off the couch and out of doors, which, of course, is a huge perk.

On The Other Hand…

As with most things, Pokemon Go isn’t all positive.  Some people have become obsessed and are spending hours playing the game, and it has received some negative press as a result.  Others have been so distracted that they’ve caused accidents. Don’t let your kids overdo it, and make sure they pay attention to their surroundings to avoid getting hurt or causing harm to others. Don’t spoil a good thing by being careless.

Also, there are some in-app purchases which means that this game could end up costing you more than your time. Have a discussion with your children about this and set rules and limits. Buying a prepaid iTunes card can help stave off problems as well.

Try it!

What I love about Pokemon Go is that appeals to kids and adults alike, so it provides a great opportunity for parents and their children to connect. If you haven’t already, give it a try. Make some time to go out with your kids and hunt Pokemon. Talk and interact while you explore your neighborhood, enjoy the outdoors —and compare items in your Pokedex!

We all need a break from our routine once in awhile, so why not use technology to create some fun family adventures?