Tens of thousands
of Indonesians were hooked on Nintendo's augmented reality app,
in which players hunt virtual characters in real-life places,
months before the smash-hit game was officially launched in the
Southeast Asian country.
But parents and teachers worry that children get too caught up
in the virtual world and are missing out on interacting with
Some parents are nostalgic about the games they used to play and
want to introduce their children to them.
Hundreds of parents and children attended a traditional games
festival on a recent weekend at the Pilar Bangsa, or "pillar of
the nation", school in West Jakarta.
A gaggle of children huddled around a wooden board, taking turns
shooting marbles at goal posts made of rubber bands in a version
of table soccer.
Others were tying strings around tops and spinning them on a
"Traditional games involve more activities, whereas electronic
games only require kids to use their thumbs," said Januar
Surjadi, who was teaching his three-year-old boy to play with a
bamboo toy that made a clicking sound when spun.
Some games like "wayang", or traditional puppets, and
"congklak", which requires players to collect as many "seeds" as
possible in the holes of a wooden set, have been passed down
Pilar Bangsa Principal Agustinus, who goes by one name, said his
school would organize more events to introduce kids to
"We want to show the unique features of Indonesia, that it has a
His school is not the only one. Education ministry official Essi
Hermaliza said authorities aimed to instill old values in
students through traditional games across the country.
The mayor of the city of Bogor has renovated a park and equipped
it with wooden stilts and other toys to "help children avoid
Pokemon Go", media reported recently.
Traditional toys are often cheap - some sell for a dollar or
less - but even so present an opportunity for businessmen like
Fahrudin, who gets toys made in villages and sells them online.
"The response from consumers has been positive and there's still
a lot of demand," he said at his warehouse near Jakarta, where
workers were packaging toys for delivery.
For children like Michelle Miranda, 13, traditional toys won't
replace her electronic gadget, but they are still fun.
"I'm getting a little bored of Pokemon Go because it's harder to
find the rarer Pokemons," she said.
"I play congklak at home with my friends, it's fun and it helps
to teach mental arithmetic."
(Reporting by Eveline Danubrata and Glenys Kirana; Editing by
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