Pokémon are real?!
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Sleeper app of the year – Pokémon GO – has finally been released allowing men, women and children to live their wildest dreams – assuming those dreams involve flicking your balls at virtual animals. That’s right, Pokémon GO is here (for most of us anyway).
Currently only available to those in certain territories, or whoever is willing the sell their souls for a taste of a Pokémon trainer’s life, Pokémon GO allows you to run around IRL and collect virtual Pokémon. It’s literally the perfect game for 10-year-old me. The thing is I’m 26 and if I were to travel back in time the game would no longer exist. I’d also undoubtedly fuck something up by stepping on a Butterfree so I’ll just have to play it now instead.
That’s correct, I’m 26. I’m 26 and playing Pokémon GO. It’s all kinds of wrong really, or is it? A 26-year-old playing a Pokémon game in secret is one thing but actively traipsing around the real world trying to hunt out the virtual fiends is a little embarrassing. In a world full of people staring down at their phone screens you wouldn’t Zubat an eyelid at another person amongst the sea of zombied phone users. The problem is I know what I’m doing and it’s a little shameful.
Counterpoint is that yeah, Pokémon is a “kids thing”, but in reality, it started its life many years ago, back when I was carefree and with my gaze affixed to my Gameboy rather than my iPhone. We essentially turned Pokémon into the success it is today and because of that, it appears the majority of Pokémon GO’s audience consists of people in their mid 20’s to 30’s so maybe I shouldn’t feel ashamed? Not only that but let’s face it the world is a shitty place, particularly at the moment, so why not indulge in the memories of yesteryear and tickle your childhood fantasies of becoming a Pokémon master?
That alone should be enough to play the game without feeling a little Oddish however I’ve only had the game a couple of days now and I’m already finding myself diverting my path from surrounding people. This in itself almost highlights the fact that I’m doing something “wrong” and merely emphasises my actions. I’m basically making myself look like some creepy passerby trying to take photos of my penis. Selfie penis pics aside there’s no denying the thrill of finding a new Pokémon on your travels and it almost makes up for the assumed dirty perverted persona when playing the game.
The greatest thing about the game, however, isn’t the nostalgia, nor is it the impressive AR tech. What’s really cool is seeing that other gamers are around you and share your interest in playing the game. In fact, it turns out that you aren’t alone. When I first visited the city where I work I was greeted by a vista of towering Pokégyms all governed by local players. Throughout the day the towers changed ownership meaning that battles had been fought whilst I was sat at my desk doing a bit of coding. It’s warming knowing that fellow gamers are near, even more so when you sponge off someone’s attract item in a recent location and collect bare Pokémon.
The game is truly unlike anything I’ve ever played and I’m not stopping. You can’t make me! I’d feel left out of the torrent of Facebook posts, Tweets and knowing that a world of Pokécatching is happening all around me. Maybe after some time, the feeling of embarrassment will fade. If not I’ll have to carry on playing under the shadow of darkness, unbeknownst to my nearest and dearest. What I’m saying is that playing this game pretty much makes me Batman.