Okay, it showed up powerfully and quickly enough that it felt like a shot from the right side that I didn’t see coming. It’s like, on Friday the world was the same, and Monday, everyone had lost their damned minds. References to that seminal Star Trek NG episode “The Game” we’re all over Twitter. So much so that even good ‘ol Wil got in on it.
At first, I didn’t much care, and I’m still being drawn in by increasing curiosity. Even if all I am is a geek with a smartphone and interest in all things nerdy, Pokémon has never been an interest of mine, and I lived through the whole phenomenon the first time around. I could have played the card game, or the video game, or watched the cartoon. I never did. It just didn’t grab me. So, it’s not really surprizing that I’m pretty tepid about this most recent iteration.
Still, it’s turning out to be quite the zeitgeist, and so it’s earned a spot in my scribblings. I haven’t installed it yet–I might not ever do, but there’s an increasing chance that I’ll have to just because it’s here, burning brightly, and I am an insufferable old-school, nerdy moth.
I was thinking about it having learned a little about the game though, (I’m not going into that here. If you really want details, go to iMore). But it seems to me that the world of smartphones is trying to take away from the world of our own imaginations.
See, when I was a kid back in the early 80s, I used to be the sort of geek who liked to play Dungeons and Dragons. Loved the whole lot of it. I was never super-obsessed with it; I was never a dungeon master, and I never bought all the paraphernalia and stuff (Although I did have a healthy collection of AD&D books, some of which are collector’s items these days) but I liked to play. And my friends were obsessed with it. And so I went along.
One summer it was such that when we couldn’t play the game because we lacked resources, people, or our parents demanded that we go outside already, we’d play what our little group came to call “Realistic D&D”. In practice, it was a bunch of kids running around a field or wooded area with sticks trying to virtually kill each other. But in our imaginations, we were knights fighting dragons and Orcs in a Tolkienian landscape. In our imaginations, we were in this world.
It strikes me that this is a little what Pokémon is all about. Except instead of imagining your encounters, the app provides you with them. You can see, though augmented reality, the thing you’re trying to deal with.
I was thinking what an amazing game that would be. Imagine if you could finally go for a walk in a wooded area and actually randomly encounter dragons and then fight them in such a way that saving throws and hit points were tracked, and gold and experience points were gained. I imagine that people could submit modules for public spaces in their communities and sell those modules online and people could go to the park and play. Now that would be an app I’d install.
I claim copyright on the idea. Gary Gygax is dead… Someone needs to step up. 🙂