Earlier this evening while I was strolling around my neighborhood, I saw four young kids walking together, each wearing a different colored shirt while staring at their phones.
I didn’t need to hear one of them yell the name of a Pokemon to know what they were doing.
In 2016, it’s hardly uncommon for something to explode literally overnight into mainstream popularity. In today’s digital age, we jump from one fad to the next.
But what’s happened with Pokemon Go is quite remarkable. It has actually begun to intrude on every single aspect of life.
I was listening to sports radio this afternoon and Pokemon managed to enter the conversation. While I was in Orlando last week, people around me were comparing their Pokemon collection.
It officially has more American users than Twitter, and now the news is reporting that Pokemon Go led one girl in Wyoming to a dead body floating in a river. In another instance, armed robbers in Missouri lured game users towards them using the app.
Even the Marines are tweeting about it!
Alright, let’s regroup.
What the hell happened while I was away?
Believe it or not, but I have already opined once before about Pokemon on this blog. Even though the Japanese game was a major sensation when I was a little kid, I still never played it. Not the video game or the card game.
It just wasn’t for me. I love Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, but never have I devoted a minute of my time to anything Pokemon.
That is, until two days ago, when I downloaded Pokemon Go.
If you’ve been reading this blog since I started it almost seven years ago, and want to stop now, I do not blame you. It’s been a nice ride, I appreciate your support, and I thank you for taking this journey with me.
But seriously, I just needed to know what the fuss was about. I’ve read reports of people camping out in parks, or traveling long distances to catch Pokemon, and I just wanted to know what the hell the appeal was.
Here’s my assessment: it’s a fun way to kill a few minutes when you’re walking around outside, but I simply do not understand the people who are becoming crazed over it.
For those who don’t know, the game, released on July 6, describes itself as “augmented reality” — as in, it takes elements of technology and fuses it with real life. The game actually utilizes your GPS and camera.
Once you create your avatar, your phone’s screen will show the Pokemon world with streets that are aligned with the ones around you. You physically have to walk on those streets — which simultaneously moves your avatar — to find the Pokemon. Once you spot one, your camera will appear, and on it will be exactly what’s in front of you … plus a Pokemon. Then you throw Pokeballs at it using your phone.
Needless to say, it makes for humorous screenshots.
So I get the appeal. I really do. In fact, it would be an awesome trend if we started to see more apps that use augmented reality. Heck, if there was a real-life Harry Potter app, I’d quit my job, stop caring about anything else and just do that for the rest of my life.
But I think we’re overdoing it just a little bit.
Granted, it’s better to be obsessed over Pokemon Go than drugs. Or committing crime.
But if you get too involved with this augmented Pokemon reality, then I hate to break it to you, but you will probably delay the loss of your virginity.
And that, in itself, is a major crime.