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Go forth and catch them all

author: cole nicolson | contributor

Pokemon
Credit: Forbes

The streets are filled with people walking, running, biking, and rip-sticking towards better cardiovascular health.

Before I begin, full disclosure: I’m only level five, I’m on Team Valor, and I’m still too lazy to hatch my 10km egg. If that sentence made absolutely no sense to you, welcome to the wonderful world of Pokémon GO! For those that have the same living arrangements as Patrick Star, Pokémon GO is a new mobile game in which players can catch virtual Pokémon in the real world. Chances are you’ve seen someone with their neck craned downwards at a ninety-degree angle walking in the middle of the road, with no regard for their own safety. That’s Pokémon GO. The “trendy” nature of the game means it has garnered its fair share of hate, but I wholeheartedly disagree with those sentiments. I truly believe that Pokémon GO deserves the highest honours in our cultural lexicon, and will be looked back upon from a utopian future as the first stepping-stone towards worldwide peace.

I mean, think about it. The obesity epidemic? Solved. Give any one of my avid GO playing friends a distance-determined “egg” to hatch, and they will immediately drop everything and go. The streets are filled with people walking, running, biking, and rip-sticking towards better cardiovascular health. The best part is, it doesn’t even feel like work! When I’m keeled over in the grass sweating and clutching my chest because I sprinted to a lured Pokéstop four kilometres away, my mind isn’t on the possible cardiac arrest I just experienced, it is on the Meowth I just caught! This very well could be the next step in human evolution. As a species we are becoming stronger, more agile…. almost superhuman.

Not only has the worldwide health crisis been solved, but also the notion of age as a cultural divider has all but been destroyed. Pokémon GO has transcended the traditional demographics for video games, with young and old alike joining hands and incubating eggs in the name of Pokémon. The game has been able to bridge the gap between parents and children. Some may call it just another example of baby boomers selfishly injecting themselves into the narrative of the younger generation, but I just call it family game night! Gone are the days of your father bursting into your room to tell you to shut the XBox off and go outside. We’ve returned to simpler, more traditional times where your father bursts into your room to say “step your game up, son. I just caught a 654 CP Jynx”. But still there are many from the pre-cell phone generation that have their reservations about the game. For all the middle-aged holdouts out there spouting their harmful anti-Pokémon rhetoric about “kids these days” being “always on their phones” and “caring about climate change”, you have my deepest sympathies. I dream of the day when “Hey you damn kids, get on my lawn, I just set up a lure” echoes through the streets.

Finally, Pokémon GO deserves to be held in such high esteem purely for its ability to be the vehicle of legends akin to those of Ancient Greece. Take the case of Mr. O (name changed to protect their Poké-dentity), a very real story that was relayed to me by a friend. Mr. O has crafted an elaborate aura of mystery around himself ever since the game launched. As the story goes, Mr. O travels around popular Pokémon locations in search of greatness. With his hood pulled tight o’er his head, this enigmatic crusader conquers gym after gym, leaving a trail of battered and bruised Pokémon in his wake. In one particular story, I was told that he followed a group of players around the University, hood drawn. He would wait until they battled and won a gym, and then promptly take over the gym in minutes after they left. He was like a shadow in the night, hiding behind potted plants and ducking under passing crowds. In what world can a man in a hood hide behind a cactus in an effort to catch virtual gremlins, and have no one question his behaviour? In a post-Poké world, that’s where.

With all of this in mind, I fully and unequivocally support Nintendo as our eminent overlords. Pokémon GO is the crowning jewel and apex of our culture, and we are better off for it. Or, I don’t know, maybe it’s just a game. I’m only level five after all.

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