Like all glorious fads of the ’90s (hey, chokers!), every millennial’s fave childhood pastime is back—and it’s better than ever. You’ve undoubtedly already seen the screengrabs taking over your social feeds: the Pokémon Go app has been released. In the few days since its launch, the contemporary remake of the classic Nintendo game has already surpassed Tinder with number of downloads, and is about to eclipse Twitter’s number of active users as well. Unfortch for us Canadians, the phenomenal game is not yet available here, but like most superfans I couldn’t wait, so I found a workaround to download the app (shhh). After only a few plays, I was hooked. Not only because it’s fun AF (who doesn’t want to find a Caterpie hiding on top of the filing cabinets at work?) but playing also comes along with a few unexpected pleasant side effects. Here, 10 ways the game has already changed my life for the better!
1. It’s a delightful trip down memory lane
Who doesn’t remember getting their first Pokémon cartridge and making the ultimate decision of joining Team Blue or Red? Like many kids, I got mine from a suburban Zellers and rushed home to plug it in to my GameBoy and hear Professor Oak from Pallet Town welcome me to the world of Pokémon. Well, I was pretty much just as excited when I downloaded the app version. There aren’t a lot of things that can give you goosebumps twice but, trust me, reliving Pokemon’s glory days will!
2. I’m actually getting exercise?
So, I got a Fitbit recently in the hopes it would help motivate my summer fitness goals, but honestly all it has done is shame me about my depressing level of inactivity. That is until I started playing Pokémon. You actually have to walk around the city to find these little guys! And no, you can’t cheat; trust me, I tried. The app has a built-in speed monitor, so if you try to hop in an Uber it won’t count. Finally, the motivation I needed! Just look at my Fitbit chart before and after I downloaded the app on Friday.
With so many Pokémon trainers—from all walks of life—running around the city, you’re bound to bump into a few new pals. On Saturday night, I met a corporate lawyer who could not.stop.talking about the game. Think of PG as a new way to make friends as an adult—with a lot less booze!
4. Discover your own Pallet Town
I love having everything within a 100-foot walking distance of my home: my work, my grocery store, even my dentist. My golden rule is anything more than two TTC stops away is TOO far! But with the challenge of walking around Toronto, Pokémon Go has taken me far and wide, even down pretty side streets that I would never have discovered on my own. I even went into a gated dog park (sans dog) just on the off chance I could catch a rare Pokémon there. (Didn’t catch anything but side eyes from dog owners.) With Pokéstops at churches, art installations and landmarks, you might find new appreciation for parts of the city you never noticed.
5. Pikachu, I see you!
Honestly, I just need a point for the pure joy of playing this game. The fact that creatures can appear anywhere make everyday life so much more fun. What better way to spend your lunch break than catching a Pokémon in your office? P.S. unimpressed colleague doesn’t come with the game.
6. Ultimate chicness
Welcome to the cool kids table! Playing a phone game hasn’t been this cool since Kim K released her virtual reality app. Everyone you know is either playing or wishing they knew how to play.
7. Pokémon gets political
The notorious Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas—which was recently in the news for attempting to protest funerals of Orlando victims—has been claimed as a Pokémon gym (that’s a where Pokémons are trained, newb). The gym’s main defender became an unstoppable Clefairy named Loveislove! We stand with you, Clefairy! #loveislove
8. We’re now one step closer to becoming Chrissy Teigen’s BFF
Celebrities are just like us: they too have discovered the magic of Pokémon and are not afraid to share their love for the game!
9. Did someone call for a Chansey?
Already, many people who suffer from anxiety and depression have been taking to Twitter and Tumblr to voice how playing Pokémon—and getting outdoors—over the weekend has improved their mental health. Gone are the days of gamers sitting at home alone in the dark.
The endless number of Pokémon memes that are being shared right now have me DYING of laughter. And they just started! Scroll through the next few slides for my faves.