Recently many adults over the age of forty have been complaining about the new Pokémon Go app. This is due to media’s presentation of the game in the news. In passing at my job I heard someone say, “Pokémon is stupid! When they are killing each other, and falling off of cliffs.” I personally could not help feel annoyed because I knew this person only felt this way because of recent news stories, and no one is killing one another over the app.
This negativity towards the popular app is because adults over the age of forty receive their information regarding the game through media. The way media is presenting the app is damaging the Pokémon community as a whole. Let me make one thing clear, I am not stating that all adults over forty are ignorant about the app. I see many people this age walking their children around so they can play the game. This article is only meant to inform people who are misunderstanding the fun experience that is bringing so many people together because of how the media portrays Pokémon Go.
There are two major misconception the media displays about Pokémon Go players: that people who play this game (which includes myself) are criminals who are robbing one another or we are idiots who do not pay attention to our surroundings.
First let me tell you my background with the Pokémon franchise. I have been playing Pokémon since the game came to America in 1998. My dad bought me a pink Gameboy and Pokémon Blue, and I fell in love with the world of the role playing game. I love animals, but my dad was strict about me having pets; therefore, this was the perfect proxy for me to have animals in my life. I love this franchise and it hurts me when people who are simply misinformed are talking crap about something they do not understand. The Pokémon community, despite being extremely competitive, is a wonderful one to be a part of. People within the community are those who often felt like outcast most of their lives and can come together with people who share a common interest. A great majority of my friends play Pokémon, and those who are not up-to-date with the current generation of the games have started to play Pokémon Go; therefore, Pokémon in my life has now come full circle, and I finally have something in common with all of my friends. However, enough about me. Let us talk about the negative misrepresentation that is being presented in Pokémon Go through media.
The first negative misconception media exploits to the public is that people who play Pokémon Go are all criminals robbing one another. News reporters are really running this river dry. This stems from the phrase “it takes one person to ruin it for us all.” There are two news stories that parade us players as “criminals”. The reason why I say two is because these are the only stories that have any truth behind them.
The first story is a big one that came out of Missouri. Four people used the game to rob teenagers. Yes, this is true, and yes it is sad that people are misusing a game so many people love in order to commit crime. However, these are only four people out of the millions who play this game. So within the game there is an item called lure modules, and if a player places these modules in a Pokéstop more Pokémon will appear for us players to catch. These four criminals took advantage of a feature in the game and robbed players. However, because of these four people everyone now is a criminal who plays Pokémon Go. The finger should not be pointed at us or the app, but the four horrible people who thought breaking the law was a great idea . My mom asked me the other day “did people create this app to rob people?” I informed her that the game is meant to bring people together, so we are now able to catch Pokémon in the real world and not meant for us to harm one another. Being able to catch Pokémon in the real world is a dream that many Pokémon fans have fantasized about for two decades. The articles do not mention if the four criminals have a past history of crime or whether they are regular Pokémon players; therefore, I can only speculate that these four people where only seeing an opportunity and took advantage of a game feature. If the app did not exists these four teenagers would have found another way to rob people since it was already on their mind. Please do not judge an app that is played by millions of people just based off of what four people have done.
The second news story that puts Pokémon Go in a negative light takes place in Southern California. Two people were jumped at 2:00 am because they were playing Pokémon Go. This story is misrepresented in media. They are blaming the game for the jumping, but not the people themselves. Let us put this story in perspective. Two people were out at 2:00am. They were jumped by people who were probably seeking to rob someone, and they just so happened to be playing Pokémon Go. These people who jumped the two players were looking for trouble, and are the reason why it makes so many of us Pokémon Go players nervous to explore the world. Should the players have been out at two in the morning? Maybe not, or maybe we should live in a world where people do not have to fear for their lives just because they are walking around late at night. Stop blaming the victims and turn the finger to the people committing the crime.
However, we do not live in a perfect world, therefore, I am a strong believer in the Pokémon Go buddy system. Always have a buddy with you when you play Pokémon Go, and go to PokéStops where you know many people are gathered so there will be no trouble. My boyfriend is my Pokémon Go buddy, and by his house there are three Pokéstops that are right next to each other where one can have access to all three of them. A large number of people gather in this area because this is the perfect place to put lures in the app and catch Pokémon. On average there are always about twenty people there. Twice my boyfriend and I sat there catching Pokémon for a couple of hours, and too our not surprise nothing bad happened to us. Pokémon Go players have no intention of hurting one another. We only want to catch Pokémon and battle each other at Gyms. The media is only pushing the negative light towards this app because maybe they want to distract you from something else, but that is another article for a different day.
The second issue with Pokémon Go the media likes to poke fun at is that players are idiots who are not aware of their surroundings. I will admit that some players do not pay attention to their surroundings, but the app does warn you of this before it loads the game and tells you to be aware of what is around you. This is once again not the app’s fault, but the peoples’ fault. This is the same as people who are: jaywalking, cut in front of you in line, cut you off while driving, text and walk, or cross a crosswalk when the light is red. However, no news articles are written about them. The fact that they are playing Pokémon Go everyone wants to point the finger at the app. Once again point your finger at the real problem, people.
Despite all the negativity in the media about Pokémon Go, I finally saw one positive news story about Pokémon Go, and to my surprise this story had my friend and fellow Mt. Sac alumni featured in it. She wrote a blog about how her autistic son is learning social skills through Pokémon Go and this is bringing her family together. This is simply amazing and shows what the true meaning of Pokémon Go. Pokémon has and always will be about bringing people together in a happy healthy environment where they can be with one another and make new friends and learn new things. I am so happy my friend’s son is learning social skills through something I love. This is something positive the world needs to see instead of the negativity that takes up the media air waves.
I hope I have helped enlighten you that Pokémon Go is not the problem, but the few individuals who are ruining the app for the rest of us. Maybe people should be happy that us millennials are finally getting out of the house and meeting new people like our parents always wanted us to do.
If you would like more information about the app Pokémon Go and how it functions, you can request that I write a blog about the app and about the Pokémon franchise in general.
here is a link to my friend’s blog who inspired me to write this article.