Last weekend we were at a gaming event with some friends. Almost all of them had downloaded the Pokémon Go app and were happily spending their down-time between actual card games walking around hunting Pokémon. One friend especially, Geoff, was pretty obsessed. He clocked something like three miles of walking over the course of the day, all in the name of catching electronic critters. I had a couple conversations with people about how the game worked just out of general interest, and I MIGHT at one point have said “if my phone wasn’t such a piece of crap I’d download the game and try it”, but aside from that I didn’t think too much of it and had pretty much forgotten about it by the time we got home on Saturday evening.
Wednesday morning, Mark walked into the kitchen and held his phone out for me to look at. It showed a little picture of a guy on a bright green map with roads traced in grey and a cheerful blue sky full of puffy white clouds on the horizon.
“REALLY?” I asked, rolling my eyes. The map he was showing me was the main Pokémon Go screen. He had downloaded the game and installed it onto his phone.
“YES! Where’s your phone? I’ll download it on yours too!”
“It won’t work, I don’t have enough memory,” I hedged, and busied myself with making breakfast.
“Sure you do, I’ll clear your cache. See? TONS of memory freed up!” He held the phone out to show me, beaming. As I stuttered out protests about how I didn’t know what Pokémon even WAS or what the point of the game was aside from walking around picking things up, he was tapping away happily and downloading the app. Clearly this was going to happen no matter what I said. Knowing that my phone is a temperamental little shitbox, I figured that the app wouldn’t even open once it was downloaded or would crash catastrophically, thus giving me an out for deleting it and retaining what minuscule shreds of adult-ness I could desperately grasp at.
Not so much, it turns out.
The phone DID run the app, so after breakfast I set up my little character. Mark took off down the driveway to see if he could find any Pokémon but I stayed inside, drinking my tea and generally not paying that much attention to my phone at all.
Then the phone buzzed. I looked down and it said something about a wild Charmander appearing. After a few botched attempts, I managed to catch the Charmander, to much fanfare from my phone.
“Well, that’s nice,” I thought, and then shut the app off so that I could go get ready for work. Mark came back just about then, looking forlorn.
“I walked all the way to the corner and back and I didn’t find ANYTHING,” he said.
At that point I felt the beginnings of something start to unfurl in the dark recesses of my lizard brain.
“Oh, really? That’s funny because I didn’t even move from my chair but a Charmander popped up and I caught it,” I said smugly. He looked slightly affronted, but then HIS phone buzzed and he was distracted by catching some kind of critter of his own.
Since Wednesday morning I’ve developed a bit of an addiction problem. I can’t stop playing this stupid game.
On the drive to work yesterday and today, I pulled over at almost every single rest stop / turn-out / lay-by on the side of the road to see if there were any Pokémon hanging around.
I read something about certain types of Pokémon only showing up in their specific environments in the real world, so I went out of my way to drive to the beach this morning and sit there for five minutes hoping some kind of water Pokémon would appear.
Last night it was 85 degrees and about 90% humidity but Mark and I walked the dog over a mile out to the end of our road (where there is a conveniently located Poké Stop, it turns out) and back, just in the name of finding more Pokémon.
I have already caught myself several times today pre-planning my errand-running route tomorrow in order to maximize time that I can explore known Pokémon-laden territory.
I don’t even know what the fuck any of these animals are, what they do, which ones are rare, how to battle with them or ANYTHING, seriously…but it doesn’t matter because they’re out there and I WANT THEM. And not only do I want them, but I want more, bigger and better ones than my Husband has. I’m generally not that competitive of a person, but apparently when it comes to building menageries of imaginary animals, I MUST BE QUEEN.
It’s totally weird.
(And it’s basically all Geoff’s fault.)