A few weeks ago, my mother and I were standing by the marina in Oriental, North Carolina, when a car full of people pulled up to the curb. Soon, another couple walked up and then another. “Playing Pokémon?” they all asked. The group gathered by the water catching Magikarp ranged in age from 25 to 65. One couple left their kids in the car to amuse themselves while they joined all the other adults playing Pokémon Go. I was stunned. Chairs were grabbed from trunks. Lures were set. Snacks were offered, along with Pokémon-related commentary and advice.
I was a Nintendo girl growing up but too old for the Pokémon craze when it first swept through the culture. I still don’t quite understand what they are or what their purpose is … or how a whole movie was made about them.
But I know how to catch them, how to hatch them, and what to do at a PokéStop. The game is great. Don’t listen to the haters.
I rarely get smug satisfaction from turning up my nose at cultural bandwagons. My sense of superiority is so developed and unassailable that I don’t need to crap on popular stuff beloved by the ignorant masses to feel like an advanced human. Thank goodness, because I can happily enjoy Pokémon Go, Fifty Shades of Gray, emoji, and Pumpkin Spice lattes for all the charms they offer and still feel great about myself. (Sidebar on 50 Shades: Once a dude tried to “explain” to me why Secretary was superior to 50 Shades and Twilight. I had seen all three movies and read any corresponding books, too. By his own admission, he’d only seen one of the three movies he was critiquing–I surely don’t need to specify which. 😉)
Pokémon Go has, in fact, just as its proponents have claimed, got this couch potato out and moving when I would have been sitting on my butt watching Netflix. After a year of marathon training, I decided to take 2016 “off,” by which, it turns out, I meant getting zero exercise. I’m all for watching Netflix–it’s in my top 5 favorite activities–but my naturally sedentary nature is no doubt benefiting from visiting PokéStops and hatching PokéEggs.
My goal in life is to be entertained, which is why I read and go to plays, why I love to be around people who make me laugh or who can tell good stories. It’s also why I like Pokémon Go: whatever else it is, it’s entertaining, even if temporarily. (I’m getting a little tired of catching Pidgeys and Zubats).
If you want an alternative to Pokémon Go, I also recommend riding around in your friend’s car and texting her phone so her high-tech navigation system will read “fuck this shit” out loud in a robotic female voice while you both giggle.
(No, I am not a teenage boy.)
Edit: It’s possible I am a teenage boy.