by Tessa Matthews, staff reporter

When you live below the poverty line, it is hard to find ways to spend quality time with family and make sure everyone has a good time without spending money. Sure, you can always sit around and watch movies, but being cooped up in a house all day is not much fun. It wasn’t until 2016 that my family found a solution to our dilemma.

Last year on July 6, Niantic, a mobile applications company, produced Pokèmon Go. The app is based off of the television series and aimed for people to get out more and exercise. As any original player can tell you, the app was absolutely ridiculous! The servers were slower than dial-up and the app would not leave the loading screen before it crashed. It took a lot of patience to play, but these major issues did not deter my siblings and me. During the Pokèmon Go craze, my siblings and I were the only ones in my family that would play. It gave us all something to discuss on a level that we could understand. Surprised that we weren’t bickering at each other, my dad stealthily listened to our conversations. Finally, with his interest at peak, the teenager stuck inside my 40 year old dad’s body downloaded the app.

Slowly all of our outdated devices became less and less compatible with the app. At the same time, people’s interest in the app became less and less. We did not play for several months until we finally got our upgrades. Pokèmon Go was the first app that came to our minds when we first got our hands on our new phones. At this point the app had gone through dramatic updates and had little to no issues. There was only one problem. It was the beginning of 2017. When we invited friends to come play with us they told us,”What? You still play that? That game was created and died in 2016.” Shocked and slightly disappointed, my dad, siblings and I turned to each other again to share our thoughts and comments. Not all hope was lost. There was one person we knew that might be willing to join in on our excitement: my mom. We knew getting her to play was a long shot. She doesn’t play many video games, especially ones that take coordination. Thankfully my mom agreed to play the game, which mended our broken spirits. She likes how it doesn’t take too much coordination to play and plus it’s a reason for her to get out of the house.

My family and I usually go out and about on my dad’s days off and occasionally late at night when he gets off work. Most of the app’s activities are located in parks and we conveniently live between two major parks. We go and walk through the parks later in the evenings when it is not so hot. We bring my brother’s portable speaker so we can jam out everywhere we go. My dad usually turns into a dictator and plays his heavy metal music. If we decide to play in the heat of the day, we cheat the system and drive around. Whoever is sitting in the passenger seat plays for the driver for safety. No matter how we play, there are always jokes, puns, laughter, and headbanging.

When people look down their noses at us for playing a “dead” app, we look at them and laugh. For my overweight parents, this app encourages them to get out and exercise. It also helps them be able to talk and relate to us about something, creating a stronger bond between each other and the family as a whole. Hopefully, as technology changes, other apps in the future will come along like this one and the tradition can be continued.­