Thursday, 18 August 2016

What I've learned from Pokémon Go

Before I even start, yes. I am a consumer whore. I fall into social traps on a regular basis, and when shit comes out that's super exciting and new and flashy, I almost always desperately want it. I blame my mother, who I'm fairly confident is 25% of the reason "The Shopping Network" is still a thing.


I'm sure you've all heard of Pokémon Go. If you haven't, go Google it, and then read up on it. I'm not giving you a breakdown to make up for your inability to keep up with massive trends that are overtaking the entire world. Seriously, this became more popular than PORN.

Let that sink in for a sec.

People (children and physically aged adults) are walking around (and potentially into traffic, offcliffs, or into stranger's houses) searching for fictional cartoon characters they can only see through their phone. They then "catch" these fictional characters by throwing balls, and if successful, the reward is a coloured character in your online character bank. THIS is more popular than the thrill of watching two (or more) people acting out scenes that we may fantasize about, but rarely ever admit to.

SO I've been at this for just over a month and am basically a Pokémon master. At the time of this writing, I am a level 24 trainer. Yeah. I have bragging rights. What I've learned from my extensive experience at Pokémon is:

1) Pokémon players respond faster than the police

Seriously. I wanted to see the response time of Pokémon players to lures, so I went to a park, found a spot that had no one around at all, and threw up a lure. Within 5 minutes there were 3 cars (with about 2 players each) 4 people sat down by the lure, and then another 8 people were wandering around pretending they weren't playing Pokémon (WE ALL KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING!). 
So basically, if you're ever about to be raped/shanked/mugged/murdered, open Pokémon GO and add a lure to a nearby Pokéstop. You will have so many witnesses within a minute, the raping/shanking/mugging/murdering will stop so the offender can run off. Pokémon, faster response time than 9-1-1.

2) The creepy people in the dark alleys are just nerds

It used to be the rapists/shankers/muggers/murderers that we feared hiding in the dark alleys that we dared not venture down alone. Now it's a nerd, just like you, searching for a Bulbasaur. and if there are still rapists/shankers/muggers/murderers hanging out down there, they won't rape/shank/mug/murder you as there are at least 10-15 witnesses in the alley already, and of those 10-15, 4 could probably put up a fight.

3) It *IS* a gateway to communication!

I have talked to about 9 people I wouldn't have talked to if I wasn't playing Pokémon. My average communication with strangers is a pretty solid zero, because stranger-danger and such. Plus people make me uncomfortable. really uncomfortable. Since starting this game though, I've been more open to talking to random weirdos that mill around me, and haven't regretted it yet. I've met a lovely bearded fellow who makes shirts, some woman who pets her dog waaaaaay too aggressively (fur flies everywhere!), a random guy that yells out "SQUIRTLE!" for no reason and then laughs to himself, 3 kids that should have been at home at 12am, not pokémon hunting (but we were on the same team, so we coo'), and then 3 Asian folks. I mean, there's a large horde of people I guess I hang out with on a regular basis (we all awkwardly stand around in the same locations), but I don't communicate with them.

4) You can have a moment with a stranger (and 50% of you don't realize it happened)

I have caught several "rare" pokémon, and since I am generally alone, I have no one to share my joy. Generally this leads to me getting excited, trying to bottle my excitement, and then glancing around at all the other people around me to see if anyone else is excited. Sometimes I do find my lone wolf companion, the one that's caught the areodactyl and also has no one to express their joy with. Usually they're about 30 feet away from me, don't see I'm creepily staring at them, and don't sense my excitement that they understand how I feel. But I get you, fellow lone nerd. I get you.

To sum up, I think everyone should experience this game. I've seen young (like around 5 years old) to old (I really did see a 70+ yr old lady doing this) playing this game, and if you feel stupid doing it, just remember this:

80% of the people out there are just as stupid as you and are playing the game. The other 20% wish they were but don't have the balls you do.

You go get them, you Pokémaster. You go get them all (unless I get there first).