Whether you’re losing weight or losing you’re drivers licence, there’s no denying the impact that Pokemon Go has had on the world. But nothing has been as critical as the impact it’s had on my head. More specifically my nose after I walked into a tree trying to capture these miscreants. Discretion isn’t a formative directive in a game as mobile as this, highlighted in my previous post. I mean it’s difficult to be furtive when you’re pointing you’re phones integrated camera around like an excitable tourist. But could it really endanger you’re life? Since it release there have been speculative reports concerning the hazardous use of augmented reality and human mobility. Specifically how these two parallels have resulted in numerous incidences such as participants walking into lakes, crashing vehicles, or bashing their noses on stupidly placed trees. After such churlish pursuits and foolish displays of spatial incompetence it’s easy to blame you’re device for distracting you when you should’ve been watching the road you were crossing. But there’s a critical distinction between ignorance and incompetence, none of which can be attributed to a game.
There’s no accounting for human stupidity. If we could prevent such detrimental impulses we wouldn’t need physiologists or Jeremy Kyle. And it’s funny, you tell someone you’re an angler, even if it isn’t a hobby they share and they can still sound inquisitive. Say you like gaming and you’re treated to confused gazes as if you were a child that had let out a small, inoffensive fart. Its probably more socially acceptable to say that you swindle pennies from blind orphans or that on weekends you push the elderly into reservoirs. I’m sure even stamp collector’s are regarded with more respect than gamer’s! So why I we treated with mild revulsion, vehement ignorance or more commonly; perceived as stupid? So stupid in fact that we eat soup with forks and if we had another brain, it would be lonely. If not for the intervention of wrist enabled devices that indicate when to breath, we’d likely of suffocated on glue fumes or swallowed an entire Lego house building set long ago. We are a collectively shunned demographic that has sustained a fortified resiliency to such abhorrent generalisations. We aren’t anymore impressionable or idiotic as any other person. Despite incidences to the contrary (such as walking into a damnable tree!). And with the help of Pokemon Go we’ve actually discovered newfound sociable aspirations.
“As you can see there are wide variety of…..Rattata’s”
Pokemon Go attracts passive community integration. This represents a chance for constitutionals to result in a meaningful collaboration between individuals that may never have conversed otherwise. To engage in harmless discussions about their experiences, their current infantry of Pokemon or something else all together. Its not perfect and yes there are inherent risks as there is with any discerning conversation. But perhaps a cynical view is obscuring the fact that the benign convention that gamer’s lack the social conventions to communicate, lock themselves away, urinate in bottles and defecate in pizza boxes is a banality firmly disregarded by the errant enthusiasm of Pokemon Go players. And with connectivity largely stabilised, gamer’s can interact in a variety of fleeting ways. Gym battles can become a battle for territorial supremacy, with a localised contingency vying for municipal dominance or fortifying their position just by leaving their strongest Pokemon to defend the integrity of their respective team, earning residual experience and even coins while away. And because certain Pokemon are designated to specific environments; for instance water types are near water, your encouraged to utilise the space around you to discover a diverse virtual ecosystem, frequented by an equally diverse range of trainers. Which could potentially attract the darker elements looking to exploit vulnerable players.
Lures are in game incentives that attract Pokemon to a specific location, creating a stationery environment replete in a deluge of wild Pokemon without the player even having to move. Now there have been concerns that these lures could be utilised to attract children for vulgar purposes. Of course parents and children’s organisations have a right to remonstrate Pokemon Go’s safety procedures as well as caution the developer that they have a responsibility to ensure that kids, as well as adults are secure while playing. Unfortunately sometimes there’s no way of preventing such exploitation. There aren’t any compliant measures that can be applied to stop potential muggers from manipulating targets down dark alleyways, anymore than you can prevent someone from luring children to a secluded area with ice cream. It’s something all of us have to be wary of. There has also got to be direct parental interventions as well as developer cautions to prevent children from being exposed to potentially dangerous practices initiated by opportunistic scum buckets. As for adults, well we have to set a better example. I take full responsibility for walking head, or rather nose first into a tree. Just as someone who drives while playing this should. We should know better. We can’t blame Niantic for own gross capacity for idiocy. You can’t demand that a car manufacturer install more safety features because someone drove their car while tired or under the influence. Sometimes human error has to be accountable. Even if you’re spatial awareness is as accurate as a confused fly banging it’s head against an unopened window.
“My pride and joy right here.”
Let’s not forget that this is encouraging kids and adults to be active. To explore. To get out of the house and move those chubby little appendages called legs. The poke stops, whereby participants can pick up supplies and amenities are located at various locations such as monuments or places of historical or architectural significance. And it’s funny seeing these places sprout up suddenly on the map. Some are well known locations like a local pub (as if I need another reason to frequent such an establishment?!) some are rather more obscure and strangely foreign to me like a statue or mural depicting some historical event I had no idea existed, despite having lived in the town for almost 30 years?! I’d find myself asking “I had no idea that was there?” So in a way Pokemon Go’s is systematically increasing regional tourism in the community. If local business are opportunistic enough then they could potentially place lures to attract Pokemon and by association trainers to their retail outlet. It’s a shrewd strategy that I think businesses could potentially exploit. Especially if increased notoriety equates to increased revenues, thereby promoting a more subversive form of commerce.
But that’s all by the by. For me Pokemon Go is an encouraging sign of something truly innovative for mobile gaming. It’s not technically a very good game, but it is an obsessive experience. It’s not the first of its kind, nor is it in anyway perfect. The nearby function has been substantial crippled by its own creators, meaning tracking Pokemon has become nigh impossible. But it’s something I’m hopeful will be amended in a future update. If not, then it could struggle to maintain player ambition. Another grievance is that as you level up you’ll also become increasingly confounded by the resistance of even the weakest of Magikarps, as capturing Pokemon becomes an exercise in patience and as well as luck. Despite this I’m still playing. Still grinding for those Magikarp candy and searching for the elusive Farfetched. Still walking through town, stopping at Pokestops and administering wry smiles to those passing by doing the same as me (I hope. Otherwise I’ll look a little weird?). I think the games biggest obstacle though is something a little more inert than server issues, game-play glitches and a dubious tracking system that has difficulty triangulating my location. I’m more curious to see how popular this game will be once the weather conditions deteriorate? Does anyone really want to be capturing virtual creatures in rain, sleet or snow? It probably doesn’t matter. I will likely walked off a cliff by then anyway……landing straight on a tree with my luck!