Friday, July 22, 2016

Pokemon Stop

My version of "augmented" reality.
Did you think perhaps I accidentally walked off a cliff while trying to capture a Pokemon? Sadly, I am not nearly "cool" enough to be out joining the herds of people that are injuring themselves while trying to find the elusive 151 Pokemon characters. 

As you might remember, I did a post a few months ago about the unfortunate folks that met their maker while taking selfies. (Thine Own Selfie Be True).  Well, I am sure you will be happy to know that there is a new way to maim yourself by "device" if you are into that sort of thing. Maybe walking off a cliff would be an interesting spike in your day....or drop as the case may be.

While I might not be evolved enough to be a willing participant in this whole Pokemon GO game craze, it seems that by default I find myself  being an unwilling participant. Yes... Recently I have found that on numerous occasions  I have been surrounded by vigilant Pokemon hunters that are caught up in the Pokemon GO stampede.

While I am fairly certain that most of you have heard of the sudden popularity of the app named Pokemon GO. BUT, if you aren't up on your "useless" game knowledge, here is a short explanation.

Pokémon Go  is a freemium location-based mobile game developed by Niantic for iOS and Android devices, containing some but not all aspects of an augmented reality game. It was released in most regions of the world in July 2016. Making use of GPS and the camera of compatible devices, the game allows players to capture, battle, and train virtual creatures, called Pokémon, who appear on device screens as though in the real world. The game is free-to-play, although it supports in-app purchases of additional gameplay items. An optional companion Bluetooth wearable device, the Pokémon Go Plus, is planned for future release and will alert users when Pokémon are nearby.
In the game's first week of release, Apple said the game set the record for most downloaded app in the App Store in one week

Last week, instead of being the diligent blog writer that strives to give you new material every week, Hubby and I decided to go on a road trip.  We thought it might be a nice experience for our 8 year old grandson to see some "Americana" type destinations.  Our itinerary was to start with a riverboat ride on the Mississippi starting in Hannibal,  Missouri,  then visit "all things" Mark Twain, (cave, museums, lake, lighthouse, boyhood home, etc.), then proceed to Springfield, Illinois, to take in "all things" Abraham Lincoln (New Salem, home, museum, library, tomb) and then finish off the trip by spending a day at the St. Louis zoo.
You might not have noticed that NO where in that itinerary did I carve out time to download the Pokemon GO app and spend time with my face firmly attached to a cell phone screen so that I might add some "augmented reality" into my real reality.

Of course, you might think it's just me being paranoid but seemingly where ever we went, we found ourselves surrounded by Pokemon hunters and presumably little monsters that have been "augmented" into the real world.  I guess one can't have PokeStops, all around one and not expect that there would be dozens and dozens of Pokemons laying in wait to be captured. This must be true as EVERY WHERE we went we found ourselves surrounded by people playing this game.

I guess if I had bothered to read the directions provided on the app, it clearly points out that some of the Pokemon hang out near water and the Mississippi is full of that. They, also, seem to like historical places, historical markers, monuments, and landmarks.  In other words, every place I intended to take my grandson was breeding ground for these bothersome little beasts and exceedingly more annoying...the hoards of real people chasing them.

To make matters even worse, some of the pesky Pokemon characters are to be found at night.  A good friend of mine told me at the hospital where she works, they are having trouble keeping people off the emergency heliport during the night because people are "hunting" elusive Pokemon characters.

There are times that I see very clearly that I am an old fogy.  (Can women be fogies?  Is that gender specific????) I was became very apparent that no matter where we went over the last week,   we found we were surrounded by people staring at their cell phones hunting for these fictional characters in the real world.  At one point during a sea lion show at the zoo, one woman had her phone up in front of my face so she could get a clear shot of a Pokemon with a Pokeball. Evidently my sight line was a perfect shot for her.

Normally, I am fairly open to new technologies and often I am running out the door when new devices or technologies make their debut.  I am troubled by this particular trend of "augmented reality".  According to many of the articles this is just the first of many of these types of interactive games that are due to launch.  Given the enormous popularity, at least in the short term, we are going to be inundated with pesky people running into us, walking into doors, tripping on curbs, falling off cliffs and driving into trees, crashing into police cars and other assorted inanimate but very real objects.

Still it has me questioning the sanity of people.  Because the makers of this game have specifically targeted places such as monuments, historical markers, museums, water, and art installations... the very things that people should be LOOKING AT and LEARNING ABOUT, instead people's attention is being drawn away from those items in lieu of a game.

When did it happen that we felt the need to make reality less real by augmenting it?  Isn't "keeping it real" good enough?  

I am fairly sure the next "big thing" will cause this current "big thing" to lose it's
appeal. We tend to be fickle in our interests but will the next tide of "what's hip and happening" be equally distracting? 

No comments: