It’s a shame that my first real post on the blog is about a very contested topic in the MTB community within Oklahoma City. Pokemon has invaded our lives and I don’t see it as a good thing. Yes, I’ve been in a handful of arguments on social media about this new game so I’ll try to give you both sides of the equation instead of just my biased version.
When this game was released, I didn’t think much of it. On the day it was released, I logged on to iMore.com, as I do every single morning, and found that the first 20 posts were nothing but Pokemon related content. I kept thinking, what the hell has happened to my favorite Apple social blog and why are they doing nothing but writing articles about a children’s game? I soon realized that the game had taken the world by storm and wasn’t going to end any time soon.
That evening, I headed out to my favorite local trail and watched as the mountain bikers stood dumbstruck at a dozen or so zombies walking around the trail playing the game. We were amazed at the spectacle of it all and just couldn’t figure it out. What the hell were these people doing on the trails that WE built? It was soon revealed that the creator of this game virtually loaded a bunch of the characters on parks and public venues worldwide. Again I ask, WTF?
We didn’t think much of it until we started to ride the trail. The first two people were pretty cognizant of the mountain bikes and jumped to the side. The next two weren’t so cognizant. Wearing headphones as a pedestrian on a mountain bike trail is never, ever a good idea. As a fellow rider yelled twice that there was a ‘bike back,’ the Pokemoron ignored him. We soon realized he was wearing earbuds while playing the game and walking on the trail. My fellow rider ended up hitting the Pokemoron.
Five days later I was on an evening ride and experienced the same zombie like behavior at a local lake where a Pokemoron was walking perpendicular across a very busy trail. Thankfully he moved after I yelled ‘bike.’
So here’s my side of this argument. If you want to play this childish game, fine. It’s a sort-of free country so do as you please. But that doesn’t mean you can ignore etiquette nor rules of the road. You don’t cross the street without looking both ways do you? Well, the same theory applies to the trails or any other public space where movement is controlled and designed.
The other side of this argument is that these people have gotten off the couch and we active adults should encourage them. Well, hell yes we should encourage them. If this is what it took to get a gamer out of mom’s basement and moving, more power to them. But again, that doesn’t mean you can ignore the rules.
In two months, this game will probably die out. At the very least, there will be enough regulations to help it be played more safely, for ALL involved. Municipalities are having major issues with this game already. People are driving cars while playing, walking off cliffs, and generally just being stupid. At the same park referenced above, an adult man was on a dirt bike, riding through the park while playing the game. The police were called and his bike was impounded. The only good part of this is where he was forced to walk home, hence, more exercise!
I, for one, can’t wait until this thing goes away. Hopefully the one benefit that comes from this is that people will see us all exercising in the parks and decide to drop the phone and join in. I doubt that’s true, but you never know.
Until then, if you must play a game, do it safely and go back to crushing candy and inviting your friends to do the same on Facebook. We’ll all stay much more sane for it!