My early teens meant secondary school and, being a shy dork with self-image issues, I gravitated to a group of nerdy Asian girls who also seemed to enjoy studying. A number of them were also really into Japanese stuff, little of which I could keep up with (and, ironically given where I live now, fostered a degree of antipathy towards the country). Pokemon, though? Pokemon was on Cheez TV in the mornings. It was a video game. I could get across Pokemon in a big way and oh, I did.
By the time Pokemon Go finally arrived in Japan late last week, I was more than ready for it. My account is linked to the Australian iTunes store so I already had the app; it was simply a matter of getting the data. Over the weekend and today, I have been on the lookout for Pokemon, and yes, I have caught quite a few and yes, I am a total fan. It’s a confluence of interests, I suppose. Walking around random places is one of my preferred forms of “exercise”, I like Pokemon, I like video games, and the competition feels mostly against myself and the program.
I was watching the Australia Plus network over the weekend and a review of Pokemon Go came up on Good Game that noted the degree to which the game taps into nostalgia and collecting/hoarding instincts, both ideas that I agree with completely. The game uses first generation Pokemon, those that appeared in the very early days of the game and its various other media manifestations, and it’s simple in nature. There is something a little bit exciting about seeing the Pokemon I remember from my adolescence suddenly spring up on the streets near my house.
Admittedly, there’s also something a little bit disturbing about the fact that, over all these years, the names of all 150 (151) of those first Pokemon have stayed locked in some secure file in my brain, but I’m sure it’s not the only questionable thing to linger in my head longer than it should have.
It’s probably silly, sure. Insert lament about people staring at their phones here (weren’t they doing that anyway?). Insert lament about what Niantic is doing with our data (because Facebook, Google, Twitter etc. apparently weren’t already). But it’s kind of fun, it’s making me take Mr. K for slightly longer/more interesting walks than I might otherwise in the summer humidity, which is good for both of us, and it’s free. Until my interest diverts elsewhere (and it will), I’ll be enjoying it.