Over the past few days, I’ve been fantasizing. No, not that kind. Don’t be weird. I’ve seriously considered buying a Pikachu costume and a few dozen eggs that I would paint yellow with a black outline of lightning bolts on them. I’d put on the costume and take to the streets. Then whenever I’d see someone playing the game, I’d jump in front of them, shake my yellow ass, while making adorable Pikachu noises, and then hurl those painted eggs with such a force that they’d be forced to confront reality-reality. Yeah, I’d give you something to augment. Eggs.
Fucking, Pokemon Go, the latest app distraction. The world is burning around us and we’re out on the hunt for a Chipotle creature or something. I’ve never been into Pokemon, so maybe I don’t understand its appeal, but that’s not really my problem. Like I said in the preamble, it’s about distraction, it’s about having another reason to not pay attention to what’s around you. It may seem like small potatoes, to be fair, but I can’t help that nagging feeling. The feeling that we are, again, being pulled apart from our surroundings and each other. It would be one thing if it was just kids, but we all know that’s not true. We all know it’s mostly adults, probably from the ages of 20-35, and as these “child at heart” types wander the streets and people’s yards, indignantly saying “Yeah, yeah, I’ll leave in a second. I just spotted El Topo.” I just have to hang my head and shame sometimes, you know?
It’s hard enough as it is for people to tear themselves away from all the various screens that populate our existence. Laptops, cell phones, televisions, tablets, electronic billboards, and so and so forth into oblivion, are everywhere. They are with you when you sleep, sitting on your nightstand, charging, keeping you alerted to the goings on in the world because you need to know, don’t you? Deities forbid we’re ever caught out of that oh so important loop. Seriously, have you ever tried to have a conversation with a person whose checking Twitter or Facebook? It’s difficult, to say the least.
We can barely be bothered to share a meal with another person without whipping out our loop inclusive devices. Hell, a lot of restaurants have begun to cater to this disposition by providing tablet devices that can be used for not only placing your order, pretty much removing the need for servers entirely, but that are also used to play games and search the web. You know, just in case you left your phone in the car in a feeble attempt at manners.
For Christ’s sake, we can’t even manage the innocuous applications we already have access to. Just a few days ago a woman stepped off a cliff in The Grand Canyon while trying to take pictures for her Instagram. Yeah, she may have been taking pictures whether she had her cell phone or not, cameras do still exist, but there’s something all consuming about a cell phone. The way it affects your awareness of the world around us never ceases to amaze me. A few months before that, a man was shot multiple times while live streaming to Facebook. Would the shooting still have taken place? Probably, but if he wasn’t live streaming his walk down the street maybe he could’ve jumped out of the way. You know, because he would have been more aware of his immediate surroundings, the sights, the sounds, the real world. I’m not bringing up these stories to make some callous point, but it stands that these folks might have been better off without these things.
Listen, I say all that stuff while admitting that I’m just as bad in some ways. I try to be conscience of it, but I’m human and often fail. I’ve been able to sidestep a lot of this stuff because, well, I’m a little bit of a troglodyte. When it comes to “modern tech” I’m way behind. My cell phone is about four generations behind the curve, I couldn’t play Pokemon Go even if I wanted to, and my desktop was a recent hand-me-down from my sister. They’re just current enough to work, but when it comes to the “new hotness,” I’m happily left behind. Honestly, most of it doesn’t really interest me and by not engaging with these programs, I’m afforded the ability to be an observer. I’ve watched as family and friends have almost devolved into jibbering idiots. Oh, I know that makes me sound really conceded. I get it, party people. Doesn’t mean I’m wrong, though.
So, considering all that, the recent proliferation of Pokemon Go has kind of gotten under my skin. I wonder how long it’s going to be before one of these idiots walks out into traffic and gets nailed by a bus. I mean, if they have time, between finding dead bodies and getting robbed at gunpoint, who does? Yeah, those are real stories. Crazy, right? Especially that armed robbery one. Lawsuits incoming, Pokefuckers!
You see, part of the game is alerting other players to “hotspots,” where those delicious Pokemon can be found. This function uses your phone’s GPS component. As far as I understand, this function is automatically turned on when you install the app. So, basically, everyone who plays the game knows where other players are. The sentiment is nice, trying to get people to “connect” through the game, but people are people and it was only a matter of time before this was exploited for nefarious means. Imagine all of the other crazy shit that’s going to happen to these hapless hunters, as they search through parks and the backs of gas stations. How long before an altercation goes wrong? I don’t know, just food for thought, I guess.
Another of the more disconcerting aspects of this game is the access the app gives to Google. That’s right, you are sending all of your personal info straight into the cloud. That includes locations, videos, and everything else you could possibly think of. That’s the default setting, and it doesn’t really alert you to the fact that this is happening. Obviously, this was quite the scandal, and the creators of the game have claimed that it was an “error.” Yeah… You can turn it off, though. I am having a hard time believing this was a mistake. Go ahead, call me cynical and paranoid. You could be right, and if that’s something you’re comfortable with then good for you. I mean, why would you want to have principles when it comes to information gathering? That’s for lame-os, and people with integrity.
Beyond the serious stuff, what about the inconvenience it poses to others? It’s hard enough as it is to get around in our “connected” world. Just navigating Target is a pain in the ass these days. The only respite from the madness used to be going outside, because if someone is outside, in our over-developed concrete slab called earth, they usually are trying to get somewhere else. Now I’m going to constantly have to be on the look out for Pokemon Go players. “Hold on! There’s a Queefle-Feefle behind that gas pump!”
I mean, it’s only been out for a few days and some places have already outright banned it. For instance, the Mobile Memorial Gardens in Alabama. Not even the dead are safe from the scourge of Pokemon Go. Seriously, if there is an after-life and I saw some dip shit wearing an Adventure Time beanie walking over my grave, I’d probably be slightly miffed. If I could haunt, oh, that would be a good reason.
Yeah, this has been a little overwrought, a little hyperbolic, sure, but that doesn’t mean the core of what I’m getting at is wrong. We all know that these types of things have affected us on some level, and this, Pokemon Go, just gives people yet another reason to act like rude assholes. Listen I’m a “gamer,” I love the hobby, but there is a time and a place for all that. You can go outside and enjoy the world without them. So don’t try to justify this with the “It’s gets people outside” adage. In reality, maybe you just kind of suck.
Having said all that, I have recently discovered a rare Kangamon Pokemon in my backyard. Please come and catch this creature. Seriously, bring your friends! Here’s a video: