A debate I thought I was going to avoid.
An app I was insanely curious about.
I guess when you are curious about a product that has some contention attached to it, you can’t avoid the debate.
I downloaded the app this weekend while on a long car ride.
People in the car with me: Hubs, DS11, DD14. People who tried to help me figure out the game: DS11. People who could have cared less: DD14. People who gave me a dirty look: hubs.
When we got to our destination, I was walking around the room trying to get a feel for the Pokemon-Go game. People (parents and sister) asked what I was doing. It’s kindof a sad statement that I had to hesitate before saying: “I downloaded Pokemon-Go.”
Pokemon Attack Launch.
Hide and dodge poke-bullets.
Poke-Screams and Poke-insults hurled.
There was even the invoking the name of our Lord and Savior (and I am totally not even kidding about that one, wish I was).
It was a serious, real life battle zone and I feared for my poke-self. You would have thought we were discussing the blacklivesmatter movement, cop killings, capital punishment, abortion, sex before marriage, gay marriage, or some other hot nationally, if not globally, impactful matter.
But, nope it was just a real life Poke-attack.
Sister: “Oh, God!!! Are you serious? That is the most RIDICULOUS THING EVER INVENTED.”
Me: “I am curious about it, and it helps people get out and….. ”
Mom: “The humane society is using it to get people to walk dogs, but what good is getting out if you are just looking at your phone?? You should be interacting with people!! ” (must have realized the irony of her statement and puts her ipad up)
Me: “I just want….. ”
Dad: can’t hear well enough to understand the intense reaction, and probably doesn’t even know what I am doing, but mutters something about kids these days.
Husband: “Exactly. Stupidest thing ever.”
Me: “Why are we judging people’s choice of entertainment?”
Sister: “Boyfriend went running and couldn’t because of these people…..” (um, I downloaded the app, so I am one of THESE people now)
I give up, obviously this a brick wall of judgement that takes more time and energy than I could possibly possess to take down.
(*disclaimer, these may not be EXACT quotes from specific people, they are more to provide a somewhat comedic, or at least dramatic, representation of the reaction I got.*)
Meanwhile, my children watch as what seemed like such a simple thing becomes such a hotly contested debate that people are yelling. Boy, we set a great example for them in that moment.
And, when my husband NEEDS an internet connection to play a game that he plays on the computer, where he only has a set amount of time to do his moves in, not one person yelled. Not one person invoked a single higher power. It was totally cool. The rest of the family went outside and talked and swam. He sat inside and played his game.
Do people NOT see the irony here?
So, why did I download Pokemon-Go?
I actually kind of thought that Pokemon-Go could be a chance for my kids and I to do some bonding activity together, but given the dynamics of my family and kids, I couldn’t very well just throw that out there like that- doing so would have resulted in instant rejection not just of this game as a bonding opportunity but all games for the remainder of the weekend.
I actually thought that the app might give me some incentive to get out and take a walk on my lunch and do something and be a little more instead of sitting on facebook or staring at a wall or the TV during that time. And let’s get real here, I don’t WANT to talk to other people on my lunch. That is a private mental space time for me. And, yes, I can look at the trees and squirrels and such, and having Pokemon-Go on, doesn’t preclude me from doing that. It’s not any worse than my walking and looking at my facebook account, or texting a friend. And this actually encourages me to walk further, at least, that is my thought.
I actually thought it sounded cool, and if I just had a friend or two doing it, might not be a bad, nearly free, way to pass an evening together.
I actually thought it might just be a fun little thing I could do. Because, fun.
I actually thought that before I judge something, I should walk a few steps in the shoes of that something.
I still haven’t been able to make time to do anything other than download Pokemon-Go, and catch two Pokemon, one with help from my son. I have had other priorities that take precedence for my time.
(Gasp! What?!?! ALL Pokemon-Go users are self absorbed, or at least Game Absorbed, obsessed jerks, this can’t be the truth! Well, I am here to tell you that it is. The truth. There is at least one Pokemon-Go user out there who isn’t a self absorbed, or game absorbed jerk out there.)
So, here are my responses to the the situations and media that have some people up in arms regarding the Pokemon-Go craze:
- I can’t walk or run or do anything in public places where I used to be able to do things without so many PEOPLE everywhere. Um, so wait, only people with serious intentions are allowed to use public spaces? I thought public spaces were for everyone in the community. I mean, the community pays taxes to create and maintain these spaces, and I will get to this in another argument, but taxpayers include Pokemon-Go users. No person, ever, in the history of Ultimate Frisbee, got in someone else’s way while being absorbed in the game.
- Users don’t pay attention and I have to dodge them when going about my daily activities (goes hand in hand with number one). That is most certainly annoying. And more an indication of the user than the game. The game clearly states that users should be aware of and pay attention to their surroundings at all times. And, chalk some of that up to “new toy” curiosity. It should get less frustrating in a few weeks or so. Recognize that things like geocaching and Ingress have been around for quite a while, and are similar (though not nearly the same) in nature. The Pokemon aspect just adds a new layer to it that brings more people out for the time being. Try to have a little patience while the craze settles down.
- People are getting hurt, even dying, because of this game. No, people are getting hurt, or even dying because they aren’t playing responsibly. Saying the game causes their death is like saying that the death of a person who drank too much alcohol and wrapped their car around a tree was the fault of the alcohol bottle, and while there is a whole argument of disease etc that can go with this, at the end of the day, the drinker could have called a cab, and been responsible with his drinking, and hopefully still be around. Same thing applies to Pokemon-Go players.
- When you are outside walking, you should be enjoying the flowers, trees, animals, moon, sunshine, whatever. When are eating dinner you should appreciate the taste of your green beans. Just because a user is playing Pokemon-Go, doesn’t mean that they aren’t also enjoying the things that mother nature provides us. I have seen screen shots of Pokemon enjoying a sunset, in gardens, “playing” with animals. If anything, for people who are “heads down” and phone or PC oriented, this gets them quite out there enjoying mother nature, as well as man made locations.
- These people who play Pokemon-Go obviously have nothing better to do with there time and therefore must be on welfare and should be out looking for jobs. I honestly have NO IDEA what possible factual information would lead any reasonably intelligent person to reach this conclusion. Most of the people whom I know that are playing Pokemon-Go are not only intelligent, and not on welfare, and not just employed, but are employed in in-demand sectors, in well respected positions. They own their houses- or maybe have a mortgage, but close enough. They are either degreed adults, or have self taught themselves technical skills that put them in in-demand, often stressful, jobs. They have subordinates. They volunteer. They pay taxes. They help people. Are there users who are not like this- yeah, probably. Are there users on welfare- quite likely. But for crying out loud, just because people find a source of recreation that you don’t understand doesn’t mean that they are leech on society. (and to clarify, that doesn’t mean that I think all people who are on welfare are a leech on society).
These are such superficial arguments that really only indicate a frustration at that which you don’t understand, and clearly don’t WANT to understand. And not understanding, or wanting to understand, is totally fine. Attacking those who may choose to play Pokemon-Go based on your own inept understanding of the game or app is not fine. There are real life benefits to this game that people are finding, and that is why it has become such a sensation. Some of those benefits are the same ones that I hoped to have when I downloaded the app.
And to assist with gaining further understanding of the benefit that Pokemon-Go is providing it’s users and others– check out these blogs and articles.
I recently went to Walmart, late at night, and at the time I was walking in, in come four young men looking up and down from their phones. The greeter says, “Back again?” They responded, “We went outside for a bit, and are coming back in.” And they go continue on. I smile and when I pass the greeter say, “Must be Pokemon-Go users.” She responds, “yeah…” none to thrilled about it. And I say, “There are far worse things that four young men could be doing this late at night than wondering around catching pokemon.”
So, please, get off your high horse, hop on a pony, stop yelling at family who might choose to partake in this craze, and build a little tolerance to what other people might choose to do for entertainment.
And don’t worry, I have an open letter for the Pokemon-Go user as well.