Hey everyone. According to some people, I might have a Pokemon Go “problem.” I mean, sure, it’s strange that when it came to thinking of a topic for this week’s post, all I could think of were books that remind me of Pokemon Go. Also, I may have walked ten kilometers the other day to hatch what turned out to be just another stupid Caterpie, but I assure you this game has not effected my mental health at all. My feet have some nasty blisters and I threw my phone across the street the other day because I another freakin’ Pidgey popped up, but I’m fine.
Playing Pokemon Go is just a truly a unique experience. Doubters just don’t understand how immersive it is. There’s not many other games like it, especially not with this level of popularity. A very interesting culture has started to form around the game, one that makes me feel like I’m living more in an intense sci-fi action novel than in real life. The more I think about it, the more I feel like playing Pokemon Go is like living in a mixture of these three specific books, or book series, which some of them are.
Little Brother and Homeland by Cory Doctorow: These books are all about spunky teenagers taking on the whole country with technical savvy and owning it, despite all the overbearing and derisive authoritarian adults. Okay, so technically these protagonists deal with way higher stakes than catching Pokemon and taking over gyms. I call these books Mr. Robot Jr. sometimes, because teenage tech nerds are dealing with heavily political issues, like Patriot Act paranoia and those “We are the 99%” protest days.
So playing Pokemon Go doesn’t exactly seem to be on the same level as being an Anonymous-esque social justice hacker, but the game is definitely a tech-driven sub-culture, and one that feels like the most intense thriller when you get into it. Maybe powering up my Jigglypuff won’t actually help me topple any corrupt government officials, but it sure as heck feels that way.
The Hunger Games: Okay, so I don’t live in an area densely populated enough for there to be some serious warfare over gyms and stuff, but I’ve heard enough rumors that I really feel like Pokemon Go was designed to get younger people to fight to the death in an urban dystopia. Dividing people up with a basically arbitrary team system is the first step. Next thing you’ll find gyms and Pokestops booby trapped with flying spikes and arrows, certain parts of towns and cities get isolated as arena-like areas and there you go we live in the Hunger Games world now. I can see it coming.
Maybe Divergent is the more apt dystopian YA series to compare this with because of it’s emphasis on factions, but I get too much of a “death games” vibe off of this Pokemon Go stuff for me to to say anything but Hunger Games.
Ender’s Game: I could name a great deal of YA books that have a similar premises, Read Player One, For the Win, etc. but this one is their grandfather and has a twist that I fear will soon come to pass in Pokemon Go in some horrific way. I mean, a huge part of the game is making it look like you’re catching pokemon in real life. I’ve “transferred” too many to excess Pidgeys away for candy to not wonder if I’m somehow actually murdering them. That strange guilt is naturally intensifying to the point that I’m actually worried I could be murdering real birds for candy in some way. As much as I hate them, no bird deserves genocide, not even when they evolve into a bigger bird with Donald Trump hair.
Pokemon Go is truly a unique game that makes me feel like I’m living in several of my favorite sci-fi books, in the best and worst ways possible. I could go on, but my phone’s saying there’s a Eevee nearby. I gotta run!