Felix was tending to the plants in his garden when Scorch, Orak, and Verum appeared at the gate. They had mobile phones in their hands.
“Let us in, Felix,” they shouted, “there’s Mewtwo in your garden!”
“Mewtwo?” Felix was confused. He didn’t have any friend name Mewtwo. He looked around and counted his animal friends to make sure he wasn’t missing anyone.
“There’s no one named Mewtwo here,” Felix called out.
“There is!” Scorch said and showed him her mobile.
Felix slapped his forehead and said, “You’re playing the game Pokémon GO!”
“Yes. Do you know a new study says that location-based games such as Pokémon GO help people feel better? It reduces depression,” Scorch said.
“Really? That’s fantastic news!” Felix said.
“Location-based games are games where people have to go to different places while playing the game,” Verum explained, “Just like how we are here in your garden looking for Mewtwo, Felix!”
“Pokémon GO is a mobile game. It was released in 2016. It is based on the characters of the anime Pokémon. It has augmented reality (AR). AR means the game allows players to interact with different pokémons in the real world through the mobile screen,” Orak explained.
“Tell me more about how the game reduces depression?” Felix said.
Scorch explained, “Depression is a mental state. When people are depressed, they experience sadness, hopelessness, and a loss of interest in daily activities for a longer period. Some can experience these emotions more intensely. It affects their ability to carry out daily activities.
Researchers from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), England, studied the depression levels in areas where the game was released and in areas where it was not released.”
“What did they find?” Felix was eager to learn.
“They found that in the locations where the game hadn’t been released, searches like depression, stress, anxiety, etc. were common. In the locations where people played the game, there was a short-term decrease in depression-related searches. The team concluded that the game Pokémon GO helped reduce mild levels of depression,” Scorch said.
“But how?” Felix said.
“The findings stated that location-based games encourage outdoor physical activity. They also encourage players to socialize with other people. When players move from one place to another, they also get exposure to nature. Such activities have a positive effect on mental health,” Scorch said.
“I am glad!” Felix said and allowed his friends into the garden.
“I caught Mewtwo!” Orak screamed with joy.