Martorella: Go Pokemon, Go!
It’s Sunday morning and my house is quiet. I have had a good hour to myself and not sure when this peace will end. I can’t remember the last time I had a minute to myself, much less an hour, and this has been the third such moment of bliss in the last 24 hours.
Thank you, Nintendo.
Yes, my family is out playing Pokemon Go. I should be embarrassed I guess, but with a family of gamers, I can tell you this game is the least “shameful” to date. Nintendo figured out how to address all the negative stereotypes with this one. How can I complain?
My family is not sitting on their butts behind a screen, with gaming noises resounding across the entire house. No, they are outside. Last time they checked in with me, it was from Selleck Woods! They are IN NATURE! My eyes are welling up a little right now.
My children say they have to run to incubate their eggs. I don’t know exactly what that means, but it has the word “run” in it, which is usually regarded as torture to be avoided at all costs. (Confession, they may have learned that from me.)
My children are playing together. They have worked out a system where one hunts and one catches. They are listening to each other, both contributing to the conversation, and working AS A TEAM!
They (so far) are not purchasing power-ups. Instead they get ahead by VISITING LOCAL LANDMARKS. They are IN THE LIBRARY! They are AT CHURCH! I think my son has seen more in the community this week than in all his years of Scouting and school field trips.
My children are not sitting in isolation. They are hanging out with their Dad. They are MEETING PEOPLE FACE TO FACE when they do their hunting. Real live people! Face to face! Don’t worry, I’m not going to call out any of you who are out Poke-hunting as well, but you know who you are.
My home-body kids are EAGER TO GO NEW PLACES! We can go anywhere! Nobody is whining that they want to stay home, and when in the car, they aren’t fighting. Next week, I’ll get them to NYC and then, the world!
I know there has to be a crash and burn coming somewhere, right? But right now I can’t see it. They are watching where they are going, their Dad is with them, they aren’t hunting and driving or entering dark alleyways to meet strangers with Pokemon. I have time alone inside and eager companions outside. I am choosing mindfulness and wallowing in this moment.
Thank you Pokemon Go.
Ten hours later:
I just spent two hours riding around in the car with my family hunting those darn Pokemon (or is it Pokemen?). I thought we were going to dinner, but apparently the restaurant was just near a local PokeStop, so they agreed to go. I was starving when we left home, while they apparently needed to build up their appetite touring through town again and again to catch the critters, get PokeBalls, and, collect, what is that? Stardust???”
We stopped at the ice rink, Town Hall, library, and cemetery, then passed by churches, fire departments, schools, and….. whoops, we missed one!…. so we went round again.
Oh, and the kids started fighting. Screaming, kicking, poking, teasing, the whole bit fighting, with us as much as with each other. Stuck in the car, they couldn’t always get close enough to grab a character or supply. They would scream to go back to where we were. They would scream when we had to speed up, or slow down for a light, or complete a turn. Somehow, they can laugh at the absurdity when they hear a report that someone wandered into the highway going after the elusive Pikachu, but can’t see that stopping the car in the middle of a turn onto a main street was the automotive equivalent.
I asked them to drop me off at a store to do a quick errand (and for a much needed moment of silence), but instead they CAME IN WITH ME to hunt Pokemon down the aisles. Aaarrgghhh!
We finally made it to dinner, but while we ate, can you believe that someone sitting on a bench outside the restaurant stole their Pokemon—or took over their gym—or something like that? They’ll never pause long enough to sit for dinner again.
Yeah, thanks a lot, Nintendo. Thanks a lot, Pokemon Go.