Stop Hating on Pokemon Go

I had lots of ideas for my post this week. I wanted to continue talking about my love of horror. I wanted to talk about how much I enjoy buying new beauty products and how much of a “goo hoarder” I am, to use Jenna Marbles terminology. But, after spending two weeks playing Pokemon Go, I think I want to address the hatred some people have for this game.

If I had thought of this earlier this week I would’ve spent the time to collect data and examples of people who hate this game for no good reason, but I only thought of this last night so I didn’t have the time. Maybe I’ll continue this discussion in my next post. For now, all of my opinions will be just that, opinions.

Anyway, I downloaded Pokemon Go on July 7. I’d been halfway following the progress of its development in the media and I was excited to give it a try. I can’t say I was the biggest Pokemon fan when I was younger, but it left enough of an impression on me as a 90s kid that I couldn’t resist.

The game turned out to be amazing, and not just because of the augmented reality or cool Pokemon interface. For me, what really struck me as amazing was how social and active this game can be. I was meeting new people and walking more. It was great!

Well, in the weeks that followed me downloading the game, the internet exploded. It seemed like Pokemon Go was a black-or-white issue. You either adored the game and played it all the time or you hated it with a burning passion, there was no gray zone. Why? Why did such a simple and fun game create such an argument?

This whole Pokemon Go argument has really struck a chord with me, especially all of the people who are trying to make me and other players feel guilty about it. As you remember from my post on guilty pleasures, I absolutely hate how judgmental people can be and how the term “guilty pleasure” is something we use to discredit our own hobbies in order to fit in.

Pokemon Go is not my guilty pleasure. It is my hobby and I’m not ashamed of it.

So, because the world is trying to discredit me, I’d like to take some time to discredit all of the Pokemon hatred I’ve seen floating around the internet.

You’re not 10 years old. You shouldn’t be so excited about this game.

Excuse me? First of all, you’re not allowed to tell me what I should and should not be excited about. I don’t jump down your throat when you get excited about something so don’t jump down mine.

Secondly, do you not have a basic understanding of timelines? Yes, Pokemon was originally designed for children, but guess which children got a hold of it first. Kids born in the 2000s? Nope. It was 90s kids. According to Bulbapedia, Pokemon was released in 1997. If I remember correctly, I would’ve been six. Sooo…guess what? Even at 25 years old, I’m still a part of the target audience for this game.

Finally, why does age dictate what we get to enjoy? I have coworkers who play this game who are in the 40s and 50s and their love of this game is just as legitimate as mine. They play is because it’s fun and there’s nothing wrong with that.

This game is taking up too much of your time. You need to get a life.

Ah, yes, you’re right. This is the first time in the history of human existence that people have become obsessed with something, therefore we should ban this game. I see your logic.

Oh, wait, no it’s not. Ever since humans started walking upright we’ve been passionate creatures. We dive into our hobbies and let them take over our lives. I wonder if anyone ever told Vincent Van Gogh that he painted too much and that he needed to get out more. Did anyone ever tell Mary Shelley to stop being so morbid, stop writing about dead things, and get a life?

Also, within the last decade people have been obsessed with phone games that are, in my opinion, way more pointless than Pokemon Go. For a while it was Candy Crush. Before that, Angry Birds. Why is Pokemon Go being singled out? At least Pokemon Go requires players to get off the couch and go for walks. It encourages people to interact with each other and work together to find rare Pokemon. That’s not something Angry Birds ever did.

To use myself as an example, before I downloaded Pokemon Go I would waste at least a couple hours on my phone. I would play Neko Atsume and My Singing Monsters and browse Tumblr and Reddit, all while sitting on the couch in my PJs. Now, I spend those hours outside, walking around. In the last two weeks I have walked an extra 50km trying to find Pokemon. That’s insane.

Also, Michael and I now routinely go on our “Pokemon Date Nights.” In the evening, after dinner, we’ll put on our shoes, go downtown, and walk along the creek looking for Pokemon and incubating eggs. That’s two extra hours I get to spend with my husband and guess what? We don’t spend a dime. For two young adults still trying to pay off student loans, finding a date solution that costs nothing is FANTASTIC.

There are so many bad things going on in the world, and you’re out catching Pokemon.

This one. This reasoning is the one that gets me the most because this basically sums up a huge flaw in our culture. For some reason, our culture right now is addicted to the idea of productivity. You have to spend every moment of your life working toward something or accomplishing something and if you don’t, you’re lazy.

Wrong. This is so very wrong and it’s just making people suffer. As someone who has extreme anxiety, this cultural trend has made me skip lunches, cancel vacations, and stay late at work just because I didn’t want to feel “lazy.”

Anyway, the fact that people are trying to make Pokemon Go players feel guilty because bad things are happening in the world is incredibly unnecessary.  Yes, we still need to fight for justice in our world and try to fix wrongs, but taking time to indulge in simple pleasures is also a necessity. You can’t spend your entire life working and giving and fighting. Soon, you’ll be running on empty and you can’t give back to the world if there’s nothing to give.

And, again, at least Pokemon Go is making people active and social. I’ve heard, mostly anecdotally, of people going to animal shelters and walking dogs while they play, of people sharing food with homeless people while they’re out playing, and of people taking their kids out to the park to play. Pokemon Go might be a simple pleasure, but at least it’s a positive one.

Okay, I think I’ll end my rant here, Daniel. Maybe I’ll do some more research and put together a more data-driven argument in my next post.

-EMS

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