Pokémon GO or No-Go for the Community?

By Kristen Hart, Living Able

Pokémon Go has taken the world by storm!  It’s not uncommon for everyone to want the latest cellphone or to go see the latest movie. But I do not think I have ever seen a game or phone app be so popular to so many, especially this quickly!  I do not even own a smartphone yet (yes, I know I am probably the last person without one!) but I knew I had to check this game out and see how inclusive it was to the “disabled” community.

I reached out to my subscribers on my Youtube channel  Living Able and had my wonderful friend Meagen play with her smartphone while I watched and made my own opinions. Check it out!

The Good, the Bad and the Game Hacks for Pokémon GO on Wheels

First thing I noticed was how much you have to be looking down at your phone. Most people that push a wheelchair use both hands and therefore their cellphone must be in their laps and you have to be looking down at it. We have all heard the horror stories of people getting hit by cars or walking off a cliff because they were looking at their phones. But this is not new to Pokémon Go. It’s been happening since the creation of the smartphone. We all have to be responsible and pay attention to our surroundings. If we cannot do that then I can see why some should avoid this game, disability or not. 

The good news about this I have heard from my subscribers in the comments on the video is that there are sounds you can turn on to let you know when you are near a Pokémon so you do not have to be looking down all the time! This will help a lot of people! If you don’t mind spending $35 there is also a Pokémon Go bracelet you can purchase that will also send you notifications when there is a Pokéstop, Pokémon or your eggs are ready to hatch.

Taking travel risks

Second thing I have heard people complaining about with this game is that they can’t walk (or wheel) far enough to hatch an egg from the incubator. You do have to move 3 - 10 miles to get the egg to hatch. This can be a big feat for even those that do walk. But is there another way? Why yes there are several!  Here is how you can hatch eggs without leaving your house: 


I am not one who likes to cheat but sometimes I think it is reasonable for obstacles you really are struggling with. The purpose of this game, according to Niantic, is to promote exercise and being more social. This could also be a wonderful excuse to ask friends to hang out and ask them to push you. They get to hang with you to play and they get to play. It’s a win-win for everyone. 

Some people are very much against this game because a person with certain limitations cannot play it from beginning to end all by themselves.  But I choose to look how I can enjoy this game, get more fit and be more social, instead of focusing on the fact that I might not be able to get every single Pokemon or might have to ask for help.

And I’m not the only glass-half-full. I have read stories of:

Now that is something to celebrate! 

So, yes, you might have some limitations to the game, but I do not see those limitations as something we have to let stop us from having fun with Pokémon Go. Embrace those obstacles and find solutions. That being said, I do hope that more companies will take an interest in learning how they can be more inclusive in gaming so I encourage everyone to keep speaking up. In the meantime, enjoy the game and believe that the world is changing. I do think we will see more positive gaming for those with disabilities in the future! 

About the author:

Kristen Hart, creator of the YouTube channel Living Able, is 33-years-old and living with Spina Bifida in Virginia Beach, VA. You can also follow her on Facebook.

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