I have never had the slightest interest in Pokemon. I also don’t play Yu-Gi-Oh! or Magic or any other game that requires the purchase of a “deck”. I’m old enough to remember when the Pokemon craze hit my rural Florida town, and I was too old to find anything moderately appealing about it. I respect the brand’s popularity, but like most things anime, it’s kinda blah to me.
(Side note: up to less than a year ago, I still referred to anime as “Japanimation”)
Anyway, the mobile game Pokemon Go! hit app stores recently, and suffice it to say that the millions of people that like that sort of shit went moderately bonkers. There were tons of social media posts regarding its release. People were losing their minds over finding something called a “Squirtle.” which apparently isn’t vaguely sexual in the least.
The premise is basic: you take the role of a Pokemon trainer. You can customize the way your trainer looks, at least in terms of skin tone, hair color, and eye color. You can’t change your hair style or clothes, because the Japanese all think we are into Kingdom Hearts cosplay or something.
Anywho, once you get through with that horseshit, you meet a guy named Professor Willow, which sounds cool except he looks more like a better groomed Doc Brown than Warwick Davis. Why can’t he be a Nelwyn trapped in a Daikini world???
(You like your weird card game fantasy things. I still revert to 80s movies. Sue me.)
After that you have to name your character. Like most things that have a bajillion users online, you might have to get a little creative with your username. But Prof. Willow isn’t picky; you could probably go with “goathumper6969” and he’ll say he digs your handle.
So, after your basic “customize your character and name” malarkey you get to the game. You have to wander around and find Pokemon. Sounds basic until you realize you actually have to physically wander around and find Pokemon. Like in the real world, holding your phone and walking with your feet.
Which is actually pretty badass when you’re trying to do something with your kid. My five year old son got a kick out of crossing the street with me and discovering something called a “Pidgey” – it’s a bird, but for some reason it has angry eyebrows longer than its wings. So we threw a ball at it. This ball apparently has the Ghostbusters trap technology inside of it because it tractor-beamed that pissed bird right into the ball.
The premise, if I am understanding correctly, is that I can use that bird thingy in a fight later. I just have to let it out of the ball. F*ck that, though, I just trapped the damn thing in there when it was already super pissed. I’m pretty sure it will just turn on me.
Anyway, it’s pretty cool in that it uses your location to seek out Pokemon anywhere on your map. It’s not super accurate with buildings in the area, but the streets seem well placed on the maps. It wasn’t super hard to find Pokemon either, so it seems like they are pretty generously placed so that anyone will be able to find them in the area.
I am impressed with the simplicity of the game when it comes to just catching Pokemon. I probably won’t battle, but I might let the kids do it. The fact that you can use the game as an excuse to go for a walk with the family is a plus, even if it just is a game tricking us into unintended exercise.
There are a couple of obvious disclaimers that go along with this: monitor your goddamn spawn if you’re letting them play this game and you live on a street that gets regular traffic. The game places Pokemon all over the neighborhood, so they might have to cross the street to catch them, and since the game requires you to look at the phone, they might not be paying attention to their surroundings. In catching the annoyed bird-thing, I had to stop twice because cars were on the road, and it was on the other side.
If you have a teenaged child that drives, you need to remind them not to be a moron and play the game while on the road, because people are doing this. The fact that I am sure “Pokemon Go!-related deaths” are going to be a thing here in America is really sad.
That said, it was free on the App Store, so great. You can make purchases in game for more of the ball traps and other stuff if you don’t value your money. It can be a fun way to do something with your family, so it’s worth a test run.
Vaya con Dios!
All opinions are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Deck Ape...or anyone else. Arrr!