I remember the day when Pokémon became real. I woke up thinking nothing had changed… that nothing was different… I was wrong. I was eating a banana, doing my usual AM phone scroll, when I started to see a strange pattern in my social media feed. Is that… a Zubat… in my friend’s kitchen? What’s that Pidgey doing standing next to real pigeons? Then I went outside…
You can spot the trainers pretty easily. Their steps are quick and deliberate with their phones held out in front of them. You may mistake them for being lost, but then you see a few of them pass by each other and something amazing happens. Complete strangers recognize each other playing and just start talking. They bond for a moment over their shared experience and then go on their way. In an area as dense as the Charlottesville Mall this happens frequently, and really it’s kind of nice to see.
I have not downloaded the app myself. I keep making excuses: my phone storage is already pretty packed, I don’t want to get slapped with data overages, I don’t have time and everyone’s already gotten way ahead of me so I’d have to play catch-up. I still own my Gameboy and a copy of Red Version, what more do I need? My relationship with Pokémon has always been contained and controlled in a tiny hand-held box. Once I allow these creatures into the real world I know it will only be harder to live without them. Am I ready for that kind of commitment?
I may have overshared… I’ll save the rest of the inner turmoil for my diary (which is decorated in pokemon stickers). I’m going to change the subject now to say that the overwhelming success of this game is a huge opportunity for businesses, particularly brick-and-mortar retail locations. Games have come and gone that have used similar augmented reality systems, but this is the first time it’s made a mark. Shops, museums, restaurants are all getting foot traffic from trainers, and they should be embracing it. Any business should look into making their location a PokéStop, which is a place where trainers go to get supplies(virtual, and potentially physical if you play your cards right). Better to get in early. I’ve linked the application at the bottom of this post.
I have a feeling that as this game is updated and further developed, restrictions and rules will become more firm, and all the empty spots on the map will be filled in. Don’t get left behind. Think of this as the Louisiana Purchase and stake your claim while it’s still wild and free.
In one hundred years, historians will look back and draw a line at 2016. There is the modern era Pre-Pokémon Go (PPG) and then there is what comes after (Harry Potter Go, Digimon Go, Yu Gi Oh Go, etc.). This is the wild west of augmented reality. Be safe, be smart, and have fun.
Application to apply as a PokeStop: