So this happened: hunting Pokemon for 1000km

I have walked and run more than 1000km while playing the game Pokémon Go over the last year. The games wants you to “go” — and hoo boy, have I ever gone! For more than a thousand clicks.

My wife has put in a staggering 3000km. (Her total got a mighty boost from her recent walking tour in the mountains of central Japan.)

So, if you don’t know what this is about…

Pokémon Go is a smartphone game that offers for rewards for walking by putting quirky fantastical critters (Pokémon) in your environment to find and collect, some of them very rare and elusive. You find them in the “wild” by walking around, invisible to your eyes but revealed by the game. Some can be found only in specific types of places, so you really have to get out and about the city — not just your own neighbourhood.

PG is the most “mobile” game yet, because it’s not just ON your smartphone — go-ing places with your smartphone is the game. The game augments reality. My wife and I never just go for a walk anymore. When we go to a park, we’re there for what is both literally and virtually in the park. We’re not just stopping to smell the flowers

And I have now walked >1000km while playing Pokémon Go. I am a bit stunned.

As a gamer and dork, I have many complaints about PG. I think they have done some things really badly. But it’s a love/hat relationship. Clearly I am devoted to the game, and it is a freakish success — for me and millions of other people — in terms of incentivizing movement.