Tagged: Pokémon Go

Martha Thomases: Go, Pokémon, Go!


Over the weekend I noticed my Facebook and Twitter feeds were overrun with new words and phrases. What is a “Pokewalk?” Why were so many people looking for gyms?

As you probably know, the cause was Pokémon Go, a break-out cell phone game that is crashing servers and bringing people together all over the country. This is in addition to a successful roll-out in Australia and New Zealand. In fact, “By July 8, just two days after its launch in the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand, Pokémon Go was installed on more than 5% of all the Android devices in the U.S., surpassing popular mobile-dating app Tinder, which was running on a little over 2% of all Android devices.”

Get that? Looking for cute little virtual animals is more popular than looking for convenient, no-strings-attached sex.

Sometimes, I just don’t understand kids today.

I missed the most rabid parts of the original Pokémon fad back in the 1990s because my kid was a little bit too old for it, but I can totally understand why this new game is so popular. In the original, you looked for a variety of Pokémon (or “pocket monsters”) on your video game screen, and when you collected the most, you won. Yes, there were more wrinkles to it than that, but the kids I watched play were more excited by the quest than by the battles.

In the new version, the game involves many of the cool features on your smartphone, especially the camera and the GPS. By looking at the world around you via your screen, you can occasionally see a Pokémon, and by swiping across, you can capture it. Then there are a bunch of things you can do with your collection, like taking them to the gym to make them stronger.

When I was at the Green Market on Saturday, talking politics with the folks at the Anthony Road Winery booth, two African-American women came up. One was ready to try wine, but the other was suddenly interrupting, taking pictures, and making us laugh. She was so excited!

Turns out, they had found a Pokémon.

Unlike so many video games, Pokémon Go seems to be encouraging people to get out of their homes, to walk around and explore (even if it’s just for some pixels), even meet new people and talk with them. In some cases, they might even notice the world around them and learn something.

This is a good thing. At least, it’s a good thing for those of us who enjoy a certain amount of privilege. The article in the link really made me question a lot of my assumptions. The author points out that if a black man is playing Pokémon Go, exploring a new neighborhood by walking around and circling in on a Pokémon, there is a real chance that someone will see him, assume he’s a criminal, and call the cops. The fact that he’s only looking at a phone won’t necessarily save him.

Pokemon SquatIt wouldn’t be the first time police have mistaken a phone for a gun. It wouldn’t even be the first time this year.

It’s also disturbing that the game imagery has already been coopted by racists.

Is this any reason to deny people joy? Of course not. The two women I talked to at the market were politically engaged and had been demonstrating all week with Black Lives Matter because of Baton Rough and Minnesota and Dallas, but on a Saturday morning, they wanted some goofy playtime. Whether I want to play the game or not (and, really, I stare at enough screens as it is and I don’t need a new addiction), I sure as hell don’t want to limit anyone else’s fun.

I’d just ask for people, in their zeal, to remember that there is more to life than finding Pokémon. There are other people on the planet, and on the sidewalk. Please don’t get so caught up in your quest that you wander into traffic, or into a unit of Storm Troopers.

I’d like to see Pokémon Go used as a force for good. For example, on Twitter, a person named Kris Straub said, “Dear Nintendo, please put super rare Pokémon at polling places this November.”

Tweets: Adventure Time Card Wars DVD Review

Anya might have fallen asleep when The Tweeks sat down to watch Cartoon Network’s All-New Adventure Time: Card Wars DVD, but Maddy stayed awake for all 16 episodes and has a totally mathematical review for you. Though Anya manages to tell everyone what she really thinks about Maddy’s obsession with Pokemon Go.

Anyway, back to the Adventure Time DVD! It’s Tweeks approved and has some of Maddy’s all-time favorite episodes along with some newer ones she’s never seen. The video starts out with the original “Card Wars” episode from 2012 and the new “Daddy-Daughter Card Wars” episode about the epic card game (that you can really play).

Available on DVD for $18.94 on July 12, 2106, this DVD runs 176 minutes and features the following episodes:

1. Card Wars
2. Daddy-Daughter Card Wars
3. What was Missing
4. Up a Tree
5. A Glitch is a Glitch
6. Nemisis
7. Evergreen
8. Everything’s Jake
9. The Diary
10. Dentist
11. Varmints
12. Football
13. Crossover
14. (The) Hall of Egress
15. Flute Spell
16. The Thin Yellow Line

Molly Jackson: Roaming Free

Pokemon Sleeping


This past Sunday afternoon, I was exhausted. I had been traveling for two days and had finally been reunited with my bed. Alas, I discovered that I needed to go back out to get some toilet paper from the corner store so I grabbed my phone and purse to head out. I got home over two hours later. No real emergency happened; I found a diverse group of Pokémon hunters on my way back and decided to join up with them to roam my local neighborhood.

Now if you’ve read my columns on a regular basis, you aren’t surprised that I’m playing Pokémon Go. I’m predictable that way. However, even I didn’t predict the all-ages response that Pokémon Go would receive. If you’ve read any article this week, then you’ve seen someone extolling the virtues of this game. And every article talks about the surprise social community that has sprung up overnight. Personally, I didn’t believe it until that day. But when I was walking home from the store, with my phone out in the correct hunting position, it was like I was part of this new community. All walks of life were out doing the exact same thing as me. We were sharing tips on the street and before long, I was joking and cursing with these people whose names I never really learned. Names didn’t matter; we were fellow hunters.

nyc city streetFor the record, teams do matter. #TeamValor!

And the benefits don’t stop there for me. I’ve probably spent more time outside in the past week then I have since back when I was a camp counselor. And I’ve walked a helluva lot more as well. And all of this hasn’t cost me an in-game dime so far. I’ve probably spent a little more than usual on cold beverage during long walks.

With the good comes the bad though. I agree, there are spots where this game just isn’t appropriate. Pokémon Go doesn’t belong in memorial locations, museums or cemeteries. Anyone playing the game in the 9/11 museum or the Holocaust museum needs to rethink their priorities. Not to mention the poor guy up in Massachusetts whose home because a Pokémon Gym. Locations should have an option to remove themselves from the game without any issue but people also need to remain conscientious human beings. Don’t block the sidewalk or a storefront because you need to stop for a catch. Don’t invade people’s privacy to chase a Pokémon down. And whatever you do, do not drive while playing!

The other big concern brought up is the real world implications of playing this game. With the country’s need to presume African American males are doing something wrong, holding a phone out could get another person killed. It’s a disturbing thought that a game as simple as Pokémon Go could do that but, sadly, the events of last week prove that it is possible. Other criminal activity includes a Pokémon Go lure being used to entice hunters to a spot to rob them rather than collect Pokémon. And I won’t deny that as a woman, I have an innate fear of walking too far (especially in an unknown area) by myself, especially at night. This global game provides an excellent opportunity for sexual assault in remote areas that might have a Pokéspot or gym.

All of that should make me want to shut down my account and ignore this game. But instead I’m going to focus on how much fun I had on Sunday. Yea, I was aware of all of these bad possibilities and I was always conscious of my surroundings. I never went anywhere where I would feel uncomfortable. But outside with these people, I connected not just with them, but with the entire community. Now I see my fellow hunters, all ages and genders, catching Pokémon everywhere. And yesterday, when I ended my 1.5 mile overly complicated walk from the subway, I felt really good and happy about the time I spent playing and the people I had met that day.

Will this game still be this popular in six months? Probably not. Right now it is the hot new thing, and that will change. But right now, this country’s favorite pastime is going outside and taking a walk. Who would have thought that would ever happen?