Gotta Catch ‘Em All | Photo: Eduardo Woo, CC BY-SA 2.0
So as you might’ve guessed after reading the last few days’ worth of posts over here, I have gotten into the Pokémon Go thing. After playing it for, well, about a week, here’s what I’ve learned.
1. I’m Old, And That’s Okay
So at first I thought it was a game for kids. I’d mostly missed the boat on Pokémon as a kid, but the older I got, the more it became a hipster shibboleth to know what a Magikarp was, or to know the difference between a Charizard and a Charmander (I failed that test on Day Two of Pokémon Go, and a guy named Graeme knows it). So I went into this definitely thinking I was too old to really get it. But I’ve discovered a number of things: (a) I know a stupid number of people playing it, in their twenties as well as, like me, well into their thirties. (b) Part of the fun is the fact that you’re all doing this when you should in fact be gainfully employed, but instead you’re wandering around like an idiot holding your phone up trying to convince the dratted Rattatta/Spearow/Zubat/etc. to just get in the darn pokeball already. (c) I met my seven year old neighbour in the hallway and she had no idea what a Pokémon was, except “that thing her older sister [who’s in her 20s] plays.” It’s a game played by people who should be working, and kids don’t get it. Yep, I’m the target demographic. Sweet.
2. Augmented Reality Isn’t Quite There Yet
Everything goes a bit pear-shaped when your LTE signal drops a little; your camera doesn’t really “get” perspective so sometimes the little creature is “sitting” on a vertical surface, or else huge on the ground and tiny in your hand:
1 foot wide –> 3 inches wide.
3. The Best Part Is The Socializing, Which Is Weird
The game itself? Pretty bland. You catch little monsters (sometimes… sometimes it glitches and your phone freezes and you lose it) and you make them, you know, grow. But running into strangers and sharing that moment’s glance of “hey we’re all being total dorks right now, isn’t it great?” or joining Team Valor or making fun of Team
Hufflepuff Instinct, or sharing pictures of the odd places you’ve “found” a Pokémon? If you were the only person playing Pokémon Go, it’d be a sad game. But with everyone playing it’s kind of amazing. I can’t wait until they add player-to-player trading and out-of-gym combat.
So good for Nintendo, which added $9 billion to its valuation (last I heard) and which is selling $1.6million US in imaginary supplies a day in the US alone. And good for us that we can be so easily entertained, and so easily find an excuse to make friends with strangers.
Here’s some photos of Pokémon in odd places.
Send me yours or add it in the comments on facebook and I’ll stick it up here, too!
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Richard Ford Burley is a human, writer, and doctoral candidate at Boston College, as well as an editor at Ledger, the first academic journal devoted to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. In his spare time he writes about science, skepticism, feminism, and futurism here at This Week In Tomorrow.