How Did We Get Here?
Released just last week, Nintendo’s Pokewalker is a stopwatch-sized motion detector compatible with Pokeman HeartGold and SoulSilver that lets players get their Pokémon fix even when they’re away from their Nintendo console.
Pokewalker follows on the heels of Nintendo’s Personal Trainer Walking which was marketed primarily to adults who wanted motivation to exercise.
A player can transfer any Pokémon from a game to the Pokéwalker and walk it through virtual routes as he walks around in real life. When he walks, a player earns Watts that he can use to encounter and catch wild Pokémon, search for hidden items or unlock new routes. Nintendo says the device is designed to give players added incentive to keep their Pokémon with them wherever they go. As an (apparently) unintended side-effect, the device may also encourage sedentary geek children to get more exercise.
According to The Times, if you buy your child a Pokewalker:
You may also notice some unusual activity, such as increased running around or a sudden willingness to take the dog for a walk. That’s because the devices allow you to pull your little Pocket Monsters (or Pokémon) from the game and strengthen them with real-world movements, at home or at school. Watch out, teachers.
How did we get to a place where the soulless animation on a brightly-colored video game accessory provides more motivation for our children to get out and move than the living, breathing, feeling, under-exercised, under-stimulated dog sitting at their feet?