After yesterday’s sea anchor of a comic, it seemed like something lighter was in order. My friend who does stand up comedy spent the entire day making jokes on Facebook about Pokemon Go, and when the kids and I came back from the park (where I got that Eevee, yessir), she was in my dining room, still making jokes about the game. She didn’t actually know anything about the game, although neither did I 2 days ago. So this is what I have to say about that. I haven’t really played video games in years, not since the ’80s, and I never played this game in any of its 42 previous iterations. But this one looked like fun.
For those of my readers who are my father, or as plugged in to popular culture as my father, Pokemon Go is an “augmented reality” game. That is to say, it’s played in the real world, using your phone’s GPS to map the game elements over actual parts of your city, and thus forcing your children to go outside and take long rambling walks if they wish to play. It’s actually reasonably exciting, or would be if they had anything near the server power required to handle the huge number of users interested in being the best that ever was and catching them all. There were probably thousands of people milling around the park playing this game, all of us getting continually booted off the server.
And I know the next thing those of my readers who are my father will say, but you’re wrong: my stepkids were among the youngest of people participating. Most of the players were in their 20s and 30s. It’s really not a kids’ game. Or not just a kids’ game, considering that people with the ability to drive to particular locations and the stamina to walk long distances have a distinct advantage in gameplay, and also that you need a smartphone to play. In addition, I note that a bunch of the game locations in my neighborhood are in bars (although my friend in Peoria said they were all churches where she lives, and also the library where she works).
Another feature is that it tracks how far you walk in the game, so it’s like a Fitbit that lets you fight monsters on your phone if you go to certain places. And somehow, it seems to have brought people together and inspired them to be friendly to each other in real life. It’s like the opposite of the internet.
I’m not going to go crazy with it like some people, though. Every time I opened the app, it insisted there were Pokemon behind the nursing home across the street from my house, so I finally went over there and just as I arrived they moved to the next block over. I declined to climb the 6-foot cinderblock wall and skulk around in someone’s back yard in order to keep playing. I am probably not going to be the best that ever was. But maybe I’m going to spend more time walking outside.