July 12, 2016
On July 4, our country celebrated 240 years of freedom.
On July 6, our country celebrated something arguably greater: the release of Pokémon GO.
On July 8, I downloaded Pokémon GO in a gas station in the middle of Wisconsin, accidentally caught a Pikachu as my starter Pokémon, and haven’t looked back since.
If you don’t know your Pokémon GOs from your poke mangos, trust me — you’ve seen the game in action. Just look for a horde of humans, phones in hand, walking around like trendy zombies. These masses tend to huddle around important landmarks and will knock on your door asking to “hunt” in your backyard.
Unlike previous Pokémon games, you don’t need a Nintendo to catch ‘em all. Pokémon GO is the first big augmented reality game — meaning it uses your phone to mix real-world elements within the game. And what’s really cool is that your GPS and clock help determine which Pokémon appear in the game at a given time. For example, if you’re taking walk around Lake Calhoun, more water-type Pokémon appear, but if you’re walking around Lake Calhoun at night, more nocturnal ghosts will appear.
When you eventually locate a Pokémon, you wave your camera phone over the area until it appears, and then throw an imaginary Pokéball at it. Besides collecting the pocket monsters, you can train your Pokémon to fight at “gyms,” and you can search for Pokéstops to collect loot — and both of these areas are based on real-world locations.
In all iterations of Pokémon lore (games, show, movies, cards), there are rare monsters that may only be caught under certain circumstances. The same seems to be true in GO. Of the 150 original Pokémon (151 if you include Mew), only 133 slots are available in the app’s Pokédex, suggesting that the other 17 (or 18) are yet to be discovered or released. Not to mention the other 570 Pokémon that exist in the extended universe. These unknown factors will definitely keep the masses intrigued and hooked.
Okay, my boyfriend completely wrote that last paragraph. I know nothing about classic Pokémon. The closest thing I got to Pokémon as a kid was doing a shoddy Jigglypuff impression. I was more of Pogs girl myself.
To said boyfriend, I need to make a public apology. For the last few months, a certain phone game, Clash Royale, has taken over his attention span. It’s the type of the game where you need to open it every few hours in order to collect rewards. I huffed and puffed and secretly plotted ways to delete the app. This has to be melting your brain cells, right? You’re 25 and should be doing more with your life, right?
WRONG. I get it now. I understand that urge to open your phone, check your surroundings for Pokémon, and feel that Pokémon rush with every new capture. I’m scared to see my cell data come the end of the month.
Admittedly, the fact you need to be walking around outside for the majority of Pokémon GO action does make it slightly less brain melting than Clash Royale, but still, I’m just as guilty as him. I’ve gone to the dark side. I’ve turned into a Pokémonster.
All my texts are Poké-based.
I texted a co-worker who lives across the street hoping she’d get the hint and invite me in.
I even convinced my Wednesday trivia crew to skip our hallowed trivia night and go on a hunt instead. We were on a five-night win streak.
For those keeping tabs on Tinder, Pokémon GO was downloaded more times in two days on Andriod devices than Tinder’s entire Android user base. With this phenomenon sweeping the country at light speed, we’ve see a lot of stuff on the internet. Stuff that’s heartwarming, and stuff that frankly, hurts our eyes.
We’ve see the good.
And the ugly.
Who only knows what we’ll see next.