#MadMonday:Pokemon GO, and Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

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I’m tired of people.

I’m tired of people feeling the overwhelming need to rain on others’ parades. I’m tired of people trying to devalue the harmless, carefree hobbies of others, whether it be to make themselves feel big and smart and busy, or just to make everyone else feel small and immature. I’m so very tired.

Pokemon Go released about a week ago, and within a day or two it had become a certified phenomenon. Suddenly the world had Pokemon fever all over again, rivaling the monster-collecting frenzy that swept the nation back in the late 90s. Everyone was using their cell phones to track Pokemon throughout their neighborhoods, walking to Pokestops and Gyms, and even setting up trainer meetups with each other. It was unprecedented success for an augmented reality game, and one of the first video game crazes to actually cause people to get more exercise. It gave the 90s kids a wave of overwhelming nostalgia and introduced a host of younger children to Pikachu and friends for the first time. What’s not to love?

Well, it’s popular. Extremely so. It’s a certified craze, prompting both avid Pokemon fans and casual cell phone owners alike to join in. It’s got a strong social media presence, with memes popping up left and right about the game between tweets and statuses about the latest high-level catches. Some people, inevitably, hate that. Why should they have to hear about things that they don’t like/care about?

I’ve seen every kind of criticism imaginable thrown at this harmless cell phone app, from the notion that it’s for people with “nothing important to do” to the idea that it’s a distraction from the various social injustices plaguing our world today. I’ve seen people mock the game as childish for featuring adorable creatures as it’s primary characters. I’ve even seen animal rights activists opposed to the thought of locking creatures away in small cramped Pokeballs.

To all of these complaints I say, shut up. I don’t care how valid they may seem to you. Maybe the game IS childish, maybe it’s a waste of time, maybe it’s even a bit cruel to these adorable little (nonexistent) creatures in their (nonexistent) Pokeballs getting into (NONEXISTENT) battles with each other. I could argue against all of these points (they actually WANT to be caught, I‘m pretty sure). Instead, I choose to respond with, who cares? Does it REALLY matter? At the end of the day, who is this hurting? People are out walking around their towns. Interacting with each other. Do you know how crazy that is in the digital age? Folks have introduced themselves to their neighbors, discovered landmarks around cities they’ve lived in for years, and there have even been some crime-related discoveries like missing dead bodies and child predators caught, all because of Pokemon Go. It’s as if, before this, people had no reason to leave their homes, but on their quest to track down that Dragonite they discovered that – hey – there’s stuff out here.

I say that to say this – let people enjoy a thing. I know how infuriating it can be to watch people get riled up over something when you don’t see what the fuss is about, but it’s going to happen sometimes. Ride it out. Stop being so negative. The world doesn’t revolve around you and your interests. Some folks like Pokemon.

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