The psychology behind the new ‘Pokemon Go’ craze

The psychology behind the new ‘Pokemon Go’ craze


Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that during the past month, the world has become obsessed with the new augmented reality mobile game Pokemon Go. With so many players staring at their screens all day long, sometimes even risking their lives doing so, we’re left wondering why? What creates this huge excitement?

Well, for a large number of players, it’s the nostalgia. Lisa Eadicicco, writing for Time, tells readers about her passion for Pokemon Go that started no less than 18 years ago, when she was eight years old, playing Pokémon Blue on her Game Boy Color.

She’s one of the many adult still hooked on the Pokemon universe, now a hardcore player of Pokemon Go. Experts say nostalgia can be a very powerful force at play in this type of situations.

“Nostalgia is just as much about the future as it is the past,” says Dr. Clay Routledge, a professor of psychology at North Dakota State University who has been studying the psychological effects of nostalgia for 10 years. “It wouldn’t surprise me at all if this Pokémon Go phenomenon was making people make new friends because they have these shared memories.”

Surely, nostalgia is not the only cause for this “phenomenon”. Pokemon fans have long yearned for a way to enjoy their favorite game on a mobile platform. And this is their first chance to do so without using unofficial emulation software.

“Pokémon Go”, says Routledge, is “this perfect marriage of nostalgia, bringing something old that people have these memories of from their childhood. And coupling that with technology that allows people to connect and share these experiences in ways they could not in the past.”