Monsters, Monsters Everywhere

pokemon goYou know what’s disturbing? Watching a group of clustered children and adults holding their phones up and shouting “Zubat! Zubat!” while pointing at something that isn’t there. I knew that one of three things was going on:

1) I’d gone crazy (possible)
2) These people had gone crazy (well, one of them was wearing an Auburn shirt!)
3) There was a new craze sweeping Alabama and I wasn’t in the know! (How dare they?)

Never one to be left behind, I decided to investigate. And, yep, you guessed it – Pokemon Go! Turns out, a ‘Zubat’ is a kind of monster, or rather, a Pokemon. You remember Pokemon, right? They were all the rage years ago. There was a card game and video game about catching, training, and battling little cartoon monsters with goofy names. Kids loved them, and spent countless hours and dollars in Poke-land.

Well, some genius decided to combine the Pokemon phenomenon with the magic of smartphones to create a new app-based game that’s not just sweeping Alabama, but the nation and the world!
I really behind the times because I am still playing the original Candy Crush!

pokemon goPokemon GO! uses your phone’s settings – such as the GPS and camera – to let you know when one of the little monsters pops up in your area. Which – in a twist unlike most video games – encourages the player to get up off the couch and run around the neighborhood trying to “catch” the thing.pokemon go

Once you download the app and turn your GPS settings on, you can start playing. Players see a little cartoon representation of themselves on what looks like an animated Google Maps. All of your neighborhood streets and landmarks are there in your own little animated world. Walking up and down the streets reveals treasures, items, and Pokemon – in your backyard, your neighbor’s house, and just about everywhere else! Tapping on the Pokemon enables you to see them in the world around you and ‘catch’ them, once you’ve had a little touch-screen target practice.

Of course, the news is already ripe with stories of folks blaming the game for their own bad decisions. The pursuit of Pokemon has led people to breaking into their neighbors houses, scaling dangerous ravines, and wandering deep in the woods. While the technology certainly makes these little cartoon monsters look real, it’s important to remember – Pokemon aren’t real, folks!

Things that are real? Injuries sustained from falling off cliffs, or arrest records from trespassing late at night. I don’t think the police will care too much about your very powerful Pikachu!

Happy Monday,

P.S. Do you play Pokemon Go!? I’m thinking of joining the craze and I’d love to hear your tips….