Games

Field Observations from a Non-Pokemon Go Player

My wife witnessed a Pokeromance in the making, while I discussed the philosophical underpinnings of Pokehunting with a 14-year-old.


Pokemon Go

Platforms: iOS
Developer: Niantic, Inc.
URL

I'm not playing Pokemon Go. I don't have a cellphone full of Pokemon because, well, I don't own a cellphone.

Though I should really say that I am not playing Pokemon Go directly. Instead, I have been tagging along on Pokehunts for the past couple of days. However, I think that in some way that still makes me a participant because the game is not merely the game, the virtual part, the digital part. Much of the game is what occurs around the game, physically, socially, and economically.

I don't know how long the Pokemon Go craze will go on, but if it has any real long term roots, it could serve as part of a solution to the obesity epidemic in the US. People are really out and about right now, taking long walks alone and in packs, biking and skateboarding.

Pokemon Go also seems a boon just in terms of strangers socializing. While players are looking at cellphone screens an awful lot, they are still acknowledging people around them, asking advice about how to battle at a gym, asking what team other players are on, and directing others towards the area that they just found a Geodude in.

I spent Monday evening in the downtown area of my small college town. People were walking the few blocks of the three streets that make up that area. They were gathered in the central square where a number of hot spots were and where others had planted Lure Modules that draw large groups of Pokemon for everyone in the area.

While advising a group of the location of a Fearow that my wife had just found in an alleyway, one girl told me about the epic battle that her friend, who had only had two pokeballs left had just fought to capture a higher level (300+ CP) Vulpix that she caught with that second ball.

A 14 year-old-boy stopped to explain passionately why the philosophy underpinning the blue Mystic team was far superior to the “feels” philosophy of the yellow Instinct team. “Catching Pokemon with your feelings is... is... so stupid!”, he scoffed. He was ready and willing to take on all debaters.

We ran into a friend of my oldest daughter, who we hadn't seen in about a year, and he told us about a Venomouth that he had thrown Pokeballs at for three blocks while walking home from work. He finally captured it right before he got home to his apartment.

My wife caught a Slowpoke and a Koffing in the downtown square, while two of my daughters and I went to buy sandwiches to bring back at a local sandwich shop a block away. My 17 year-old daughter caught three or four common Pokemon in a row as she waited while I ordered at a table in the place. She took a picture of a Spearow perched on my 14-year-old daughter's finger before we got our sandwiches.

People are out and about, chatting with their friends and with complete strangers. They're spending money at local businesses while out on their Pokeadventures.

My wife witnessed what she felt was a Pokeromance in the making as a purple haired girl made eyes at a nerdy guy in a group of Pokehunters. She flipped her hair as she explained to him that she hadn't brought her phone but maybe she could “just walk with you guys?” The guy who had responded with some uncertainty at first grinned, “Sure. That'd be great!”

I don't know what kind of legs the Pokemon Go phenomenon has, but I am hoping that it at least lasts until September. The university where I work, which is within walking distance of my house and has tons of hotspots and three Pokemon gyms on it, is also hopping right now. However, I think that this phenomenon might be a great thing for general sociability and getting familiar with the campus for incoming freshmen and transfer students.

The whole experience seems especially powerful for a Millenial audience, those who grew up with ubiquitous cellphones and internet and the Pokemon properties. I'm a little old to feel any nostalgia for Pokemon generally. As far as I am concerned it was a show that my oldest daughter watched when she was a kid, little else. However, the game captures what I think is the bare bones concept of the video games and the show, exploring the world while catching unique and fantastic creatures. It's a neat way of overlaying nostalgia on the real and present world, and it's a neat way of getting people out of doors to meet and socialize with others who share that powerful nostalgia with one another.



Music


Books


Film


Television


Recent
Music

The 80 Best Albums of 2015

Travel back five years ago when the release calendar was rife with stellar albums. 2015 offered such an embarrassment of musical riches, that we selected 80 albums as best of the year.

Film

Buridan's Ass and the Problem of Free Will in John Sturges' 'The Great Escape'

Escape in John Sturge's The Great Escape is a tactical mission, a way to remain in the war despite having been taken out of it. Free Will is complicated.

Books

The Redemption of Elton John's 'Blue Moves'

Once reviled as bloated and pretentious, Elton John's 1976 album Blue Moves, is one of his masterpieces, argues author Matthew Restall in the latest installment of the 33 1/3 series.

Music

Whitney Take a Master Class on 'Candid'

Although covers albums are usually signs of trouble, Whitney's Candid is a surprisingly inspired release, with a song selection that's eclectic and often obscure.

Music

King Buzzo Continues His Reign with 'Gift of Sacrifice'

King Buzzo's collaboration with Mr. Bungle/Fantômas bassist Trevor Dunn expands the sound of Buzz Osborne's solo oeuvre on Gift of Sacrifice.

Music

Jim O'Rourke's Experimental 'Shutting Down Here' Is Big on Technique

Jim O'Rourke's Shutting Down Here is a fine piece of experimental music with a sure hand leading the way. But it's not pushing this music forward with the same propensity as Luc Ferrari or Derek Bailey.

Music

Laraaji Returns to His First Instrument for 'Sun Piano'

The ability to help the listener achieve a certain elevation is something Laraaji can do, at least to some degree, no matter the instrument.

Music

Kristin Hersh Discusses Her Gutsy New Throwing Muses Album

Kristin Hersh thinks influences are a crutch, and chops are a barrier between artists and their truest expressions. We talk about life, music, the pandemic, dissociation, and the energy that courses not from her but through her when she's at her best.

Music

The 10 Best Fleetwood Mac Solo Albums

Fleetwood Mac are the rare group that feature both a fine discography and a successful series of solo LPs from their many members. Here are ten examples of the latter.

Music

Jamila Woods' "SULA (Paperback)" and Creative Ancestry and Self-Love in the Age of "List" Activism

In Jamila Woods' latest single "SULA (Paperback)", Toni Morrison and her 1973 novel of the same name are not static literary phenomena. They are an artist and artwork as galvanizing and alive as Woods herself.

Film

The Erotic Disruption of the Self in Paul Schrader's 'The Comfort of Strangers'

Paul Schrader's The Comfort of Strangers presents the discomfiting encounter with another —someone like you—and yet entirely unlike you, mysterious to you, unknown and unknowable.

Music

'Can You Spell Urusei Yatsura' Is a Much Needed Burst of Hopefulness in a Desultory Summer

A new compilation online pulls together a generous helping of B-side action from a band deserving of remembrance, Scotland's Urusei Yatsura.

Music

Jess Cornelius Creates Tautly Constructed Snapshots of Life

Former Teeth & Tongue singer-songwriter Jess Cornelius' Distance is an enrapturing collection of punchy garage-rock, delicate folk, and arty synthpop anthems which examine liminal spaces between us.

Books

Sikoryak's 'Constitution Illustrated' Pays Homage to Comics and the Constitution

R. Sikoryak's satirical pairings of comics characters with famous and infamous American historical figures breathes new and sometimes uncomfortable life into the United States' most living document.

Music

South African Folk Master Vusi Mahlasela Honors Home on 'Shebeen Queen'

South African folk master Vusi Mahlasela pays tribute to his home and family with township music on live album, Shebeen Queen.

Music

Planningtorock Is Queering Sound, Challenging Binaries, and Making Infectious Dance Music

Planningtorock emphasizes "queering sound and vision". The music industry has its hierarchies of style, of equipment, of identities. For Jam Rostron, queering music means taking those conventions and deliberately manipulating and subverting them.

Music

'History Gets Ahead of the Story' for Jazz's Cosgrove, Medeski, and Lederer

Jazz drummer Jeff Cosgrove leads brilliant organ player John Medeski and multi-reed master Jeff Lederer through a revelatory recording of songs by William Parker and some just-as-good originals.

Books

A Fresh Look at Free Will and Determinism in Terry Gilliam's '12 Monkeys'

Susanne Kord gets to the heart of the philosophical issues in Terry Gilliam's 1995 time-travel dystopia, 12 Monkeys.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.