It may just be that Pokemon Go will usher in the end of our world as we know it.
It’s fun, it’s addictive (oh my word) and it gives anyone and everyone a reason to go to locations they wouldn’t normally consider visiting and get kidnapped by people they would never expect. It’s kind of like Anywhere Theatre Festival where people explore a town’s nooks and crannies while they experience theatre except without the complicated theatre bit replaced by cute little monsters running around laying eggs.
It’s the kind of thing I have been pushing someone in the festival to create. Unfortunately nobody has and I’m not sure how I feel about the idea that someone else has and will reap the rewards. I’m really happy for Niantic but I am sad for us.
Here is a game motivating people to explore spaces they normally wouldn’t visit to earn rewards in an online environment that have absolutely no value anywhere else. Not dissimilar to the Stock Exchange except that I doubt you’ll be able to buy a penthouse apartment in the middle of the city on the proceeds because after the buzz ends on Pokemon Go there will be a new game and everyone will have to forgo all the credits they built up in the old environment for the new in the same way everyone in the Twitterverse is wondering what to do when Twitter fades into the irrelevant middle distance in the next couple of years.
I think it may be the case that we are all being very successfully distracted here. I don’t know what from, but I’m going to stay focussed so when the fireworks stop I’ll be one of the few left to battle the real life triffids. Also, I’ve got young kids and frankly I don’t have the time, although they probably do.
My kids would love Pokemon Go if I let them know about it and they probably will discover it the second someone else at school discovers it. (Otherwise, known as first day back at school) They will go exploring for Pokemon in the real world while building up credits in the unreal one. Maybe it will get them to ride their bikes more to get to more locations (if that approach works to egg walking – the jury is currently out). Maybe they will become more independent as a result. Independent from me, but more dependent on Pokemon Go. If Niantic says it is okay, surely it is (terms and conditions apply).
And then they’ll get bored and look for the next hit, like all us adults who want to be kids again instead of facing the complexities of the world and tackling to resolve them, because that’s what is happening here. The tougher and more intricate the dilemmas we are facing in our highly industrialising and online world, the more we want to escape to something else.
Escaping means we don’t have to face what is happening here. We can leave it somebody else. Who are those other people going to be and what kind of world will they make for us? Does it really matter as long as we have something else to distract us to make it all more tolerable when the end of the world happens?
Oh look, there’s a Pokemon and anyone want to help control a gym? What was I saying? Oh, well, at least we aren’t all in Facebook as much any more, and that’s got to be a good thing.