Hello. My name’s Nadia. And like you, your grandmother, and your dog, I’m currently playing Pokémon GO. I’m Team Valor and 100% loyal to Mistress Candela. I’d gladly hug Spark whenever she’s not watching, but Mistress Candela is always watching.
I can go on about how Pokémon GO has connected people in a way I’ve not witnessed in my 30-plus years of playing video games, and my 12-plus years of writing about them. Thing is, everyone’s already gone on about that, and—
Heck, I’ll do it anyway. Let me rap a bit about sitting outside the nearby kosher dairy restaurant last week, farming PokéBalls because said 100-year-old restaurant is a PokéStop. It was like 12 at night and I thought “No one else will pass by. No way anyone’s going to be as much of a loser as I am.”
But come they did (much as I do for Mistress Candel—[MACHINE GUN FIRE]). They came and moved on, greeting me in English and talking to their friends in Korean, Chinese, Hebrew, Tagalog, and Spanish. Families taking late-light PokéWalks drifted by with tiny dogs and girls educating their dad about how Willow is a Professor, not a Doctor. Off in the middle of the parking lot, I saw three kids conversing in a group. The darkness made their forms indistinct, but the glowing screens of their phones and the library PokéGym nearby made their intentions obvious. Sure enough, they eventually mounted their bikes and rode off in that direction. In time, Team Mystic lorded over the library (assholes).
These are redundant observations, clearly. I’m not the first meatbag who took two seconds to look out at the Pokémon GO phenomenon, slap her fat hands on the keyboard, and type “Wow! Isn’t it neat how Pokémon GO is bringing us all together??”
Don’t get me wrong. It is neat. Actually, it’s god damn incredible. And that’s why I want to ask you all to remember this very point in time, this muggy El Nino summer when we were all privileged enough to be part of something truly huge, truly pure and happy.
When we’re usually asked to band together in this day and age, it’s something to do with a lot of people dying in a horrible way. This time, the only victims are the billions of Pidgeys presumably being shredded up into high-nutrient candy slurry by Professor Willow’s Chansey slaves.
I actually think Pokémon GO is here to stay. I went into the reasons why over at USGamer. After all, Pokémon itself never died, though news stories about GO would have you believe “Pokémon is BACK,” and never mind the tens of millions each new mainline game sells. But in the mainstream media’s eyes, once it stopped reporting about kids stabbing one another over Pokémon cards in the schoolyard in 2000, Pikachu was no longer relevant.
That said, while my beloved Giant Menorah Gym down the street will probably never stay in my hands for more than 30 minutes at a time, I do understand these days of seeing multilingual families herding their children on long walks in search of Pikachu are a rare snapshot in time. That goes double for this part of the world. It won’t be long before the days get shorter and nights get colder. Or, to put it in a more pop culture-friendly way: Winter is Coming.
(Much like I am not allowed to do for Mistress – OW OW OW OK fine)
And that’s where my plea to remember these happy weeks comes into play. Pokémon GO is sharing a lot of news time with the 2016 election season, which in turn is sharing a lot of news time with gun deaths, terrorist attacks, and other shit events from planet shit. As the days get colder, so will the news. No matter who takes the US election in November, we’re in for a mean, mean fall. Even if Trump doesn’t get his hands on the nuclear codes and annihilate human civilization because he’s a living caricature of a 2002 picture edit suggesting the US ought to turn Afghanistan into a McDonalds surrounded by a 250,000-mile parking lot, the situation with ISIS is going to get worse before it gets better.
So, get out there right now. Catch Pokémon while the sun still shines and the crickets’ songs aren’t made urgent by the creeping chill. Talk to other players, hatch your eggs, and guard your Gyms. Remember this rare, lovely time in modern human history.