Wednesday, August 3, 2016

#211 - Pokemon Go Has Got To. Go, That Is

I just realized it has been entirely too long since my last entry (51 days, to be exact). I can only apologize for my laxness and blame it on the fact that I have been camping, singing, writing, and otherwise having fun.

One thing I have noticed people (including my son and a few of my friends) having fun with is Pokemon Go. While they do, I wait for it to go the way of all fads, into oblivion.

I'll be honest, I simply do not see the attraction or the appeal of Pokemon Go, except perhaps for cell phone companies. I'm sure they simply love it. After all, Pokemon Go encourages players to use copious amounts of cell phone data searching for Poke-Stops and various Poke-creatures. I'm sure there hasn't been this much excitement about anything poke (or pokey) since the days of Gumby and his sidekick, Pokey.

There are those who credit Pokemon Go with encouraging people of all ages to exercise, as they walk around in searching of the ever elusive virtual beings. others say the game encourages teamwork. These are, to me, only incidental and accidental side benefits, icing on the cake that is increased profits for cell phone companies and a spike in the net worth of Pokemon's parent company, Nintendo.

I have to wonder how long that financial high can last before it comes crashing to earth just like a person on a sugar high crashes an hour or two after eating that last donut. My guess is that after one or two months of outrageous cell phone bills, a number of parents (and perhaps children who never grew up) will curtail the playing of Pokemon Go.

Of course, I could be wrong. Perhaps enough people have unlimited cell data plans or are already used to high cell phone bills that they won't say no to Go, at least not for that reason.

It may be that safety or crime prevention may hold the key to stopping Go. There have been reports of people trespassing onto the property of others to try and capture a Pokemon and at least one report of someone being shot and killed while playing the game.

Because I don't really pay attention to the game, except to the extent that my son continually talks about Pokemon, I don't know the validity of any of these stories. To me, Pokemon Go sounds like a slow Jamaican in need of a trip to the bathroom.

Thinking about it, though, I guess I can see some appeal. Many of the people who play Pokemon Go are likely also attracted to YouTube, reality television, and videos featuring animals doing something they probably shouldn't be doing or shouldn't be able to do.

There are a number of things I don't understand about Pokemon Go, why people play it simply being the most obvious. For example, although Nintendo's net worth skyrocketed after the game came out, I don't understand how the company makes money off of it, since the game is free to download and play. (I suspect there may have been a licensing fee paid to Nintendo by the game's developer, but that alone cannot justify the increase in net worth.)

I guess I also don't understand how we can hope other alien cultures (if they exist) will see in us signs of intelligent life if we are all convening at Poke-Stops, cell phones in hand, hoping to capture a Poliwhirl, a Charizard, or even a Squirtle. Perhaps that's the ultimate goal of Pokemon Go, to encourage alien cultures to pass us by and see us as no danger to them. At the rate we're going, I suspect the only danger we are going to pose while playing Pokemon Go is to ourselves.

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