There’s a phenomenon sweeping the nation, as well as filling up news feeds on just about every single social media. It’s Pokémon GO the app! And I’m not a participator in the game.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Pokémon. I grew up watching it after school every day. I collected as many of the trading cards as I could while coveting the holographic ones. But I just can’t get on board.
The idea behind the app is cool and progressive. It’s making catching Pokémon like Ash Ketchum, or running a gym like Brock, a reality. The app itself uses the camera from your phone to bring the Pokémon into your world. Popular buildings in your town may be PokéGyms or PokéShops. To earn experience points for your Pokémon to ‘level up,’ you need to walk around your town or neighborhood catching the wild Pokémon that appear. When you see a Pokémon appear on your screen, you have it click on it. Clicking on it will bring the Pokémon into a face-to-face battle where you as the PokéTrainer have to throw a PokéBall at the moving Pokémon. Once you catch it, it gains you experience and another Pokémon for you training arsenal. In theory, the game seems awesome, but it’s not all cracked up to be.
Just from the looks of it, the servers are ALWAYS down. I hear the complaining from my roommates and friends that play the game. They’re constantly reloading the app, regardless of where their battery life is at. After every reload, when the screen says the servers are down, they get more frustrated. The fact that the servers are always down might be a nod to how popular the game is right now, but it could also be a sign of a kink within the game.
My news feed is full of screenshots of the game. A lot of them are of the screen saying the servers down and the frustration because of that. Others are of Pokémon in the grocery store, in the car, or in someone’s house. If it’s not someone posting their accomplishments or frustration with the game, it’s someone posting a meme mocking the game. (I’m partial to the memes that mock, but I haven’t quite reached the level of posting them. I just admire them while I scroll.)
The game requires you to constantly be looking at your phone. As if we needed another reason to be anti-social and totally focused on our phones instead of the world around us. Not only is it a step back for socially, but it’s actually a danger. Texting and driving has always been a problem, but now it’s driving and Pokémon catching. Drivers are now solely focused on their phones so they can catch a Pokémon instead of focusing on arriving at their destination safely. In fact there’s already been a report of a car crash in relation to the Pokémon GO app. The driver decided to stop in the middle of the highway to catch a Pikachu. Luckily no one was hurt, but it could have been way worse.
While I like the idea behind the app, I’m not going to be a participator anytime soon. With the servers always being down, I’m not sure how much playing I would actually get done anyway. Plus, I prefer to drive without the distraction of my phone. I personally would like my car and I to stay alive and in one piece. However, for those who do play, please play safe and smart. I know you all want to be the very best, like no one ever was, but safety first. It’s just a game.