I've been waking up with a renewed enthusiasm for walking to work.

It's not some workplace health and safety initiative that's responsible for this. I'm just yet another born-again Pokemon trainer who's probably going to get hit by a car sometime soon.

As I hit the streets, I'm met with a familiar message. The Pokemon Go servers are overloaded. These outages coincide with the hours before and after work most days - a credit to the game's popularity.

I'm feeling disgruntled - what am I doing, walking for nothing? - when suddenly things kick into action and I'm back on the map.


I'm trundling along, searching for the Polywag that's supposedly in the park across from my house, when I'm informed that I've finally walked far enough for the mystery egg I'm carrying to hatch into a Geodude.

There are two types of people in the world right now - those who play Pokemon Go and those who do not. The latter might find the craze a bit bewildering and have no idea what I'm taking about, but I doubt they're as fit as I am right now.

I used to own a Fitbit, but this game has got me walking like that lousy wristband never could.

I'm also seeing my city in a new light, as the Pokestops dotted over the map highlight the little oddities you don't usually notice - like the mirror balls in the window of the building across from work or a mural of bunny rabbits in Ponsonby.

Plus, when you spot other people playing the game - which is happening a lot - it gives you a warm feeling of nerd camaraderie.

A Pokemon reveals itself on Queens St as commuters walk on by. Photo / Michael Craig
A Pokemon reveals itself on Queens St as commuters walk on by. Photo / Michael Craig

On the first day of Pokemon Go madness, I walked past two girls in town, one of whom turned to the other, giggled, and said, "Look, he's playing it too" - a beautiful moment.

Yesterday afternoon, I caught a Pokemon on the back of a guy who was also catching a Pokemon.

Not long after, I amused my hairdresser by catching a Spearow in the salon as he cut my hair.

The trade-off for all of this fun, fitness and friendship seems to be Google tracking your every move as you "engage with the city" - but the joke's on you Google, because I'm wandering far beyond my usual pattern of movements. And possibly that's the best thing about it.