Five or so days ago, a new game for smart phones was released called Pokémon Go. Maybe you’ve heard of it? It’s completely taken over the internet and pop culture. On Friday, I scrolled through twitter and read countless tweets from people who were giddy with excitement over the game and was like, “I don’t know what this is but so many people love it, maybe I need it?” I’m a sheep. I sent my resident videogame expert, Kyle, a message, “Are we downloading the Pokémon game?” He replied, “You know it.”
Kyle and I were a little too old for Pokémon when it originally came out, so I never got into the cards or the Game Boy game. I only recognize the little yellow Picachu and the catchphrase, “Gotta catch ’em all.” I assumed the point of this new game was to “catch ’em all.” Can’t slip anything past me!
After I downloaded the game, I fiddled with it a bit before I had to set it aside. The next morning, I mentioned to Annabel that I’d downloaded it, but between getting her packed to spend a couple nights at my parents’ house and keeping an eye on James while he potty trained, we didn’t get a chance to play with it. I figured we’d crack it open when Annie was back.
In the meantime, my brother started sending me texts. “Look at this [weird Pokémon name] I just caught!” “I’m on level five already! I’m very very good at this!” I felt my deep-seeded hatred for Kyle being better than me at something bubbling up. I knew I had to start playing this game, even without Annie around.
There were a couple catches, though. The first was that I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. But that’s just a tiny thing, I don’t know what I’m doing 90% of the time and I’ve never let that stop me. The other problem is that in order to play this game, you have to leave your house. Like, literally, physically leave the house and walk around. The app uses GPS to pinpoint where you are on a google-maps-like playing screen while you walk around your neighborhood and other locations looking for Pokémon and other prizes. It’s cool because it gets people out and moving instead of sitting indoors while they play video games. Normally a walk around the block wouldn’t be that big of a big deal, but since we were potty training James, I was somewhat stuck at home for three straight days.
I say “somewhat” because I suddenly found lots of reasons to leave the house. “I think we should buy James a kid potty,” or, “You look low on Diet Coke, want me to go get you some?” Whenever I’d get to where I was going, I’d start up the game and look for Pokémon to catch. If there was one nearby, it would flip on my phone’s camera to show a Pokémon just hanging out in the “real” world.
This one got into my house.
It’s cool and weird, which is my favorite combination.
When I arrived at my parents’ house yesterday to collect Annabel, she greeted me with, “Mommy! I saw on the news about this new game for Pokémon, and I watched YouTube videos about it and I really want to play!” I suuuuuper casually pulled out my phone and was like, “Well, look what I have,” and gained instant cool mom points. Then she started asking me questions like, “Have you caught a [weird Pokémon name]? How many gyms do you have?” and when I stared at her blankly I lost all of my cool mom points.
But we still had fun catching Pokémon, even though she said I “know nothing,” (true) and she would “learn so much more about Pokémon from Uncle Kyle,” (ouch…but true). Once we discovered you could take pictures WITH the Pokémon, it. was. on.
Whenever we’d catch a Pokémon, Annabel would rename it.
Me: Are you allowed to rename it?
Her: Well, I’m doin’ it.
Her names cracked me up. This one is supposed to be called, “Ekans.”
This one is a Ponyta:
And this one is normally Diglett:
I obviously had to look up all of those names, and now I have a really weird search history.
When we came home from catching Pokémon, she made me watch a bunch of videos about it…I retained nothing. But I’m looking forward to this game’s potential. I can see Annie, James (who calls the game “cookie man”) and I having a fun summer exploring different parts of our town and other cities as we look for Pokémon. Plus, I’m totally going to get in shape with all the walking! Bonus.
These are our Pokémon-catching faces. We’re totally gonna catch ’em all (and then do what with them, I don’t know).