Back in 1998 I had a day off from school; I was sick and that meant I got to watch TV all day. As luck would have it the kids block of TV shows had a new show on; Pokemon. I had no idea what to expect but as a slightly bouncy piano tune signalled the dawn of the first episode I was immediately thrown into a world of wonder; as Nidorino battled Gengar I was immediately hooked. I didn’t know what Ghost Pokemon or Poison Pokemon were back then, I also had no idea what Pokeballs did, what the Pokemon League was and I certainly didn’t know that 18 years later I would find myself just as engaged in the Pokemon world as I am today.
By now you’ve almost certainly heard about Pokemon Go the mobile phone app made through a joint collaboration from Nintendo, Niantic and The Pokemon Company (GameFreak, Creatures and Nintendo joint venture). Pokemon Go has already taken the world by storm, outperforming the most popular mobile apps including Facebook, Snapchat, Tinder and Twitter in the two weeks that it’s been on the market. Nintendo share prices have shot up by 30% (SELL! SELL! SELL!) and all around the world (Limited release so far) Pokemon fans both old and new are taking up the hunt for new Pokemon!
Of course, there’s always a “but” in these situations; if you’ve been paying attention you’re likely to have noticed the stream of dickriders who insist that “Pokemon is stupid”, “Pokemon is for kids, grow up”, “People spend too much time on their phones”, “I don’t like Pokemon” and other variations of their inane bitching. I had some guy trying to run down a news article on Pokemon Go by complaining that “The world is ending all around us and all you care about is a game”, as though somehow enjoying a videogame is any different to enjoying a sport, film, food, etc. So what’s with these people? Why do they seem to actively go out of their way to hate something as cool as Pokemon? Short answer; they’re assholes. Long answer; they’re a remainder of people who still subscribe to this outdated notion that fun and enjoyment are things that apparently stop once you hit 18.
I can still remember back in 2001 when all of a sudden Pokemon “stopped being cool”, it was upsetting as shit. Suddenly every kid at school was listening to Eminem, watching Big Brother and talking about boyfriends/girlfriends. The cringe in that shit is so real that even now I’m shuddering at the thought of it, luckily I was blessed with parents who responded to this push to force 11-year-olds to start acting like 20-year-olds with a “Fuck that! If you want to play Pokemon and Zelda, then you play Pokemon and Zelda, Taylor”. I was one of the lucky ones, but just as many kids didn’t get that support and were pushed into this garbage early 2000’s (worst time period since the Cold War) culture of making children become adults. I was talking to a friend the other day who made a point that he can remember coming to school with his Gameboy Color ready to trade Pokemon only to cop a bunch of abuse from other kids so he went home and hid his GBC in the wardrobe and didn’t touch it again until he moved out in 2011.
So if you’re wondering why all of a sudden so many people are getting into Pokemon Go it’s simple; all of us, the kids who were forced to grow up too fast finally getting to experience or re-experience a childhood pastime that made them feel good. It’s also really fucking fun; yeah that’s right Pokemon games in general are FUN! There’s a reason why the most recent games Pokemon X and Y sold 14.7 million games worldwide and why the recent remakes games Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire have hit the 10 million mark. People like Pokemon and why would that bother someone? Really it shouldn’t, unless you’re so insecure in the things that you like that you have to actively oppose something you don’t enjoy to feel better about your own choices. See here’s the thing; I think AFL (Australian Football) is lame as shit and if you ask me I’ll tell you that. What you won’t see though is me purposely chasing after AFL fans or visiting AFL websites to tell them I don’t like it, I just watch Rugby instead. If you don’t like Pokemon Go you can just go and do something you do like (Selling yourself on the street corner for crack, most likely) but for some reason it seems like the Pokemon Go haters really need to make sure that everyone knows they hate it. The best way to describe Pokemon Go haters; imagine the worst kind of hipster who only drinks soy decaf latte’s, refuses to listen to music that isn’t vinyl and accuses every artist ever of “selling out” the moment they get a fanbase of more than seven people. Then multiply that piece of human garbage by the biggest Christian fundamentalist you can find and finally throw in that lady at the shops who ALWAYS wants to “speak to the manager”. That’s a Pokemon Go hater incarnate.
As for the rest of us; that rainy Halloween night when I first got Pokemon Blue version in 1998 was one of my favourite childhood memories. I still remember my time playing as Red the original Pokemon Trainer and picking up my Bulbasaur from Professor Oak, only to fight my rival Blue who in the ultimate of dick moves picked a Charmander (Worst starter ever). I remember travelling through Viridian City and learning how to catch Pokemon, I remember beating Brock for the Boulder Badge and Team Rocket attacking Mt. Moon. I remember the Nugget Bridge and Bill the programmer being turned into a Pokemon. I remember trying to ride my bicycle indoors and being told by Prof. Oak that I couldn’t do that. I remember the creepy pervert spying on the all-girl gym in Celadon City and the endless searching in the Safari Zone for the dragon Pokemon Dratini. I remember beating the Elite Four only to find out that Blue was already Pokemon champion and I remember heading into the mysterious cave and catching Mewtwo. For many people the Pokemon games were a way to experience things that you just couldn’t do as a kid; there were no volcanoes or forests where I lived. Certainly no caves or abandoned power plants or ice islands to be found and frankly even as a kid if I walked around throwing my balls at animals I would’ve gotten into trouble.
So if you’re one of the millions already enjoying Pokemon Go keep doing what you love and if you’re one of the fun sponges that wants to be the uber-contrarian then continue chowing down on a big bag of Poke-dicks, because nobody loves you.