In the last two day, I have been obsessed with Pokemon GO, much like the rest of the world it feels like.
I've retweeted most every funny joke related to Pokemon GO on Twitter, I've walked around my apartment complex and the entire campus of Snead State Community College, which sits next door to me and made visits to every Pokestop on campus. I even got an egg at the science center. Clever!
I've pulled in to the parking lots of an Anglican church, a Methodist church, and a Spanish Pentecostal church. I've walked over a mile to a water tower to get some Pokeballs and catch a Gloom. The local gym for me is either at a softball complex or City Hall. (I'm not quite experienced enough to claim either one, though. Dang full-time job.)
My apartment complex is crawling in Eevees and Rattatas. I got ambushed by an Abra in my bathroom and wandered my way into a Venonant retrieving a document at my office building.
The app, developed by Niantic, Inc. and The Pokemon Company, is meant to replicate the experience that the popular video games provide. Using an Augmented Reality camera, "trainers" can wander their surroundings and catch Pokemon out in the "wild," using their GPS locators on their devices. Once they reach a certain level, they can fight in gyms and claim ownership of them. Trainers can also join teams and interact with fellow trainers in their area.
It's a great idea that has been in development for the better part of two-and-a-half years. Thus far, it hasn't disappointed. There's something about the inherent nostalgia of the application that makes it so successful. When I was 5, my dream was to make Pokemon real and be a trainer (on top of being a NASCAR driver and President of the United States.) I have the entire original Kanto series on video cassette, and have a Meowth at my work desk for good luck.
The fact that on the 20th anniversary of Pokemon in America we can (sort of) achieve that dream of being Pokemon trainers gives the game an authentic connection that will perhaps make the app unlike anything ever seen before. The pure joy I've seen on Facebook and Twitter have made me elated and feel connected to this thing bigger than myself. It's like Neko Atsume: Cat Collector, but 1000x better with a bunch more walking.
Although it seems childish and extremely hyperbolic, I believe that an app such as Pokemon GO can show the collective good in society in a time of seething mistrust and vitriolic uncertainty. Many friends of mine have taken pride in other friends' accomplishments, gathered to play with one another, walked or drove to places they've never been and explored new areas. I've seen more things in my new hometown alone the last two days than I probably did in four months prior.
Long story short, Pokemon GO gathers our collective imagination and makes it (augmented) reality, which is really dang cool, in my opinion.
If you've got some fun screenshots of MAC school-related Pokemon GO shenanigans, be sure to share them in the comments or on Twitter @HustleBelt!
Don't @ me, but I think "Polkamon" is the best Pokemon OMST song of all time.