My Avatar and the world map
Wednesday, August 3, 2016
Pokémon Go! Not Pokémon Stop
My Avatar and the world map
I was walking. Not walking like I normally walk, which is either for exercise or thought, but for a higher purpose. I needed to get to the PokéStop in order to refill my Pokéballs. I had only slept a solid 5 hours and it was now 5am and I had followed my GPS to some random school. After spending a good 15 minutes getting angry at a fence for physically slowing/impeding my progress into the schoolyard of a Christian school that I probably wasn’t supposed to be at in the first place I give up. I walk for hours. Finding Pokémon, going to stops and collecting more Pokéballs and potions. I feel accomplished when it’s now 8am and I have reached level 12 allowing me to access the higher level Pokéballs, which in return allows me to more successfully trap more Pokémon. Not looking where I am going (as is the norm for most Pokémon Go players) I find myself in a not so good neighborhood. Intimidated, but still resolved, I followed the game to a dark corner of an apartment complex. I look up and see 3 grown men, one with a pair of pit bulls on a chain leash. We all stop and stare at each other for what seems an eternity. The man with the pit bulls speaks:
Pit bull (I don’t know his real name): “Hey. Bro… You catch that Eevee over there?”
Me: “Uh… Yeah… Just got enough candy to evolve him. I’m hoping into a Vaporeon. I already have the Jolteon version.”
Other Guy: “S&*t son. I gotta TON of those boy. Check out my Pokédex” (tool used to view accumulated Pokémon)
I have played Pokémon since the late 1990’s, but this is the first time Pokémon or any game for that matter has ever brought me closer to my fellow man. I meet people and go placed that I usually would never travel to had I never started to play. I am reminded of what has become a catch phrase of this class. “Solvitur ambulando” It is solved by walking, as Dr. Oliver reminds us. This is the absolute truth when it comes to Pokémon GO. The game is focused around walking. Walking to find Pokémon. Walking to get to Pokéstops. Walking to hatch Pokémon eggs (Pokémon eggs hatch after a certain distance has been walked). More than walking to locations, I find myself meeting and sharing ideas with fellow players. Not only about Pokémon, but about anything people who are meeting and talking about… well talk about. Pokémon Go is the ultimate ice breaker when trying to meet new people. You already are interested in what others are and have that in common, if not than anyone obsessed with Pokémon would love to talk your ear off about it.
The game has also helped local business and communities. The other day I met an old woman that told me she loved how Pokémon Go had rejuvenated the square in downtown Murfreesboro. She said that she hadn’t seen so many people, especially younger people, hanging around the square since she was younger and that was the thing to be seen doing! Business can drop “Lure Modules” (see item picture below) in order to change their Pokéstops into Pokémon magnets while simultaneously refilling Pokémon Go players Pokéballs and other resources. I have been in a bar that was empty at 2 in the afternoon and dropped a lure module, only to be swamped in Pokémon Go fanatics, all of which enjoying a drink and perhaps a meal.
Nietzsche hiked through the mountains. Kant had his Swiss-clock like daily constitutionals. Even Rousseau had his walks through the country. All men walk, but not for the same purpose. In today’s age the mass of men need an electronic desire to walk. Even Hillary Clinton has tried to incorporate the success of Pokémon Go into her election… Terribly I might add. Watch, but be warned. You cannot unsee:
Pokémon Go is successful because it makes you walk. Walk to accomplish various task, but always by walking. The game doesn’t work when you are driving your car or even if you’re driving. You go over 5 miles an hour and the distance you’re traveling no longer counts toward your egg goals, nor can you pick up your needed items at Pokéstops. You need to walk in order to accomplish tasks or even to play the game. What’s strange is that there are a million other games on any number of devices that do not make you walk. Why does this particular game have so much success when it makes people walk around? I think that people deep down desire to walk. They want to feel the ground moving beneath them as they travel to new and unusual places. They just didn’t know that they wanted too. Not until something familiar drew them to it. Into the Outside.