April 22, 2019 | 52° F

SINKIEWICZ: You know you want to catch them all

Opinions Column: People And ...


Today’s topic of discussion: Pokemon. For those of you who have been living under a rock and lacked anything that remotely constituted a childhood, Pokemon are fun animated creatures and critters created by Japanese gaming company Nintendo. 

They’ve zapped, burned and froze their way into the hearts of children everywhere. While the success of Pokemon can undoubtedly be viewed as amazing, it appears as though the future of Pokemon is only just around the corner. Both veterans and newbies alike have been latching on to the fad that is “Pokemon Go,” the virtual reality cellular game that has people walking into lamp-posts and phone booths trying to catch their 500th Pidgey. 

While I could spend my time analyzing Pokemon’s progression throughout the ages and why, despite aging 15 years, we still continue to play their games, I have instead decided to write on the implications of the world with Pokemon Go — a forecast for the future if you will. When dealing certain types of technology it is critical that one views all aspects of said progression. For example, robots might be productive workers in the future, but a con of this technology might be fewer jobs when the robots take over and start an authoritarian regime. Pokemon Go is similar in this respect. 

The positive aspects cannot be overlooked. It causes you to get outside and take in the environment. Of course, most Pokemon spawn in locations where people frequent, so you’ll still be able to go to McDonald's and catch Pokemon. You will obtain the passive illusion that you are exercising, even though you’re not really. Welcome to America! Furthermore however, Pokemon is a unifying force. Pokemon may likely end the problems in the world, or at the very least, make basements less populated, but is that really a good thing? 

Firstly, we need people in basements to affirm our self-righteousness and smug superiority as someone not in that position. We may very well hit rock bottom, but at least we will always be able to say, “Well, at least I don’t live in my Mom’s basement.” Pokemon Go ruins that! But more importantly and perhaps more concerning are the teams. 

In Pokemon Go, there are three teams that one must affiliate themselves with. These teams are Instinct, Valor and Mystic. Yellow, Red and Blue. People on these teams capture gyms to get a daily bonus. Wow, this certainly won’t cause any sort of hostility, because dividing people, even over stupid things, never causes any problems? Right? Stanford Prison Experiment anyone? But all this aside, let’s assume that people can cooperate. How long until they start using gang signs? Signalling to each other that a rare Pokemon is nearby? Is this really the world we want our children growing up in? Probably, because the game is just too damn entertaining.

At this point you might be wondering, why do I care? I don’t play Pokemon Go? Oh, but you will. Whether you drunkenly download it at a party, try to look cool to a bunch of 7th graders or even just prove that you’re the very best like no one ever was, something will compel you to pick up Pokemon Go, even if only for a day. Maybe this very article is doing the same thing. Yes, perhaps it is my intention for you to get Pokemon Go. Maybe I work for Niantic and Nintendo. Maybe you are getting very sleepy at this moment. Sleepy, very sleepy ... But suddenly you wake up and your realize, wow, why am I taking advice from an opinions column in my school newspaper? 

For the same reason people believe and follow horoscopes, the power of print compels you! Back to Pokemon Go, the truth is undeniable. The game is forging communities together, bringing people of all ages closer in their pursuit for digital creatures that satisfy us to our core for reasons unknown, even to the ancients. So people and Pokemon, man and virtual companion will march onward and triumph or perish.

Zachary Sinkiewicz is a School of Arts and Sciences senior majoring in English and history with a minor in political science. His column, "People and ..." runs on alternate Mondays.

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Zachary Sinkiewicz

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