“Hello, my name is MrsEnginerd and I play Pokémon Go because I like it.”
It is hard to admit than in my mid 30s I enjoy playing Pokémon Go. Maybe it is the half Millennial in me or it could be the competitiveness of the Gen Xer half but there is something about this clever little app that makes me reconsider quitting. Not only has it taken over my 20 year old peeps and my sister’s newsfeed but it has actually forced them to talk to each other and to strangers. *Gasp*. It’s hilarious to read about their frustration and lack of Pokéballs. For the first time in a long time they can be happy and cheery without caring what you think of them. The nostalgia is stronger than the criticism, of which there is a LOT out there.
My main concern is that Nintendo was so engrossed in planning this whole thing that they did not realize that the world was willing to risk their safety for a simulated image on augmented reality backgrounds. Kids and young adults are willing to risk life and limbs to spot and catch a Pikachu. There have already been reports of deaths and fights occurring because of the game. People want to escape reality so badly and entertain their weary minds that the dive into traffic to secure a Pokémon. Think about it. The 28 year olds are all insanely attached to their mobile device screens because they are happier training fictitious magical beasts than working. There is an entire contingent of this generational group that is so stressed out that this game gave them a much needed respite and hobby. We are all walking aroung with our phones chasing a dream.
I have many beefs with this game, philosophical musings aside, and most center around the game play and reception of the app. If I don’t get the infamous screen saying the servers are down, I will get the equally horrendous “GPS signal not found”. Ugh! Leave it to Niantic, The Pokémon Company, to release a game with inadequate server capacity and support. Clearly someone dropped the proverbial Pokéball on this one. I walked 4 miles yesterday and couldn’t hatch a single egg because the software couldn’t track my steps due to a combination of these two errors. I won’t be able to catch much if this keeps happening.
Another thing I have a beef with is the haters. I get that you may think Pokémon is silly or for children but explain to me the animosity. I don’t think it is a waste of time since it has gotten me outside the house and talking to actual strangers. I haven’t socialized in the middle of a parking lot this much since high school. There is something to be said about the feeling of accomplishment and pride that follows catching a rare beast and adding it to the tally or of having enough candy to evolve your favorite character.
I have a Jiggly Puff that, believe it or not, gets me through the day. I am happy that I have to use my math skills to figure out where a Pokémon may be hidding, what it takes to catch it and train it. Parents should be aware that there are many benefits to this “running around with our heads down and our cellphones out”. Please remind your children to be safe and to not get into people’s yards chasing characters. Dogs and bad people could surprise them and hurt them.
As long as you don’t go into debt or sell your firstborn child for equipment and shop items, I think the Pokémon Go fad has a chance of improving the summer for those young at heart. It reminds me of the many movie remakes and toy revamps that haven’t made an impact or surpassed their original hype. Unlike those, and similar to the Ninja Turtles and Transformers, Pokémon has become a staple for children, USA pop culture and the world. Maybe I am being childish by playing the game but I’ll risk the ridicule because it makes me and my friends happy.
Gotta catch ’em all!