POKÉMON Go. Is it good? Bad? Or is it a sure sign of the end of the world? Whatever you may think, it’s definitely damn clever.
Instead of wasting months on code and graphics, the makers have used the real world for scenery. It’s just outside with some colourful pixels thrown in to turn it into a virtual reality scavenger hunt.
It’s not the first time something there for everyone has been packaged and sold back to us. Bottled water is one example and there are beauty products, sex and cleaning products, in that order.
As with any new technology, the first question to be asked has been, “How long until it kills us?” Then we wait until someone falls off a bridge, cliff or into traffic while playing the game and sadly, that’s already begun to happen.
Next step is a half-hearted call for a ban, but I doubt that’ll occur when mountain bikes, walking and mobiles are more dangerous and legal. There are also other apps that should be banned first, such as anything that requires you to count meals, steps, bills and guilt.
Another question is “How much fatter will this new game make my children?” But in fact this game gets the fatties outside into terrifying reality. But it still limits the world to a small screen, without interaction with humans and so reinforcing the lack of social skills common to all electronic games.
Another issue is the number of adults playing this game and other video games. Before I discovered alcohol and that not all women detested me, I too played a lot of electronic games. Then I grew up.
I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with adults playing video games. Wait … yes I am. Try going outside instead. It’s lovely, even when it’s not seen through a phone and populated by pixels.
I wonder how many of us are refusing to grow into contributing adults, instead remaining addicted to childlike pursuits? Which leads to the biggest issue with the Pokémon Go phenomenon. It’s not this game in particular, it’s the games that come next. How long will it be until vast swathes of the population choose to leave the difficult real world for a virtual one where we see everything through a screen and can all be supermodel superheroes who are forever being fawned over by pixels programmed to meet our every need?
That leaves the huge majority of those who can’t afford to escape to be further ignored and neglected, along with real world issues like the environment and the economy … but who cares about all that, look over there, it’s Pikachu!
Xavier Toby is a writer and comedian.
His second comedy memoir ‘Going Out of My Mined’ is available now.