How do you explain the hysteria that has gripped the Jersey Shore and the rest of the country this week?  Of course I’m talking about what just about everyone is talking about: Pokémon Go.

To be honest I don’t know enough to explain the entire concept but I guess it’s based on a video game created in the mid 1990’s which developed into trading cards, TV shows, toys and more.  I don’t think my children ever got into it so I clearly did not but the latest development in this franchise is unavoidable.

Pokémon Go for all intents and purposes is a free reality game played on your mobile phone or device and it was only released by the Nintendo Company last week.  Estimates are that more than 15 million people have downloaded the app and nearly 10 million are playing the game on a daily basis.  Regardless it’s caused a craze that’s easy to see even if you don’t play, don’t care or don’t understand the game.

That’s because you have probably noticed groups of people walking around different areas looking at their phones and devices and at times almost oblivious to anything else.  The game is sort of like a scavenger hunt and it sends players to outside locations like across the street from our studios and offices on Robbins Street in Toms River.

No matter what time of day, there are people around us as I guess we are near what they call a Poke Stop and sure enough when I came in at 4 o’clock this morning there were a couple of groups engaged in the game across from our front door.

My initial reaction is that this is further proof the Apocalypse is getting closer but to be honest there seems to be many positives associated with all of this.  Young people who were spending many of their summer hours inside the house playing video games are now outside, walking in some cases miles a day and engaging with others.

Of course part of the problem is they are not paying attention to their surroundings and there have been accidents and injuries involving those glued to their phones.  By the way the game was not meant to be played by those driving cars or riding bikes and skateboards.

Is this a fad that will pass quickly or just the beginning of a new craze that will lead to other similar games?  Only time will tell but for now it’s a busy day in the neighborhood.

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