Woah now, put those @’s away and hear me out for a sec, yeah? I’m not just another one of those self-loathing Millennials. On the contrary, I was memorizing the Pokedex long after most people my age were learning about investment portfolios and how to overpay for grilled cheese. To me, Pokemon has always been an amazing concept—vastly superior to sports or hour-long dramas—so trust me when I say that this critique comes from a place of true concern. Not concern for your safety, mind you. These headlines are hilarious. This isn’t some shallow form of cyberbullying towards adults enjoying a kid’s game either. Nor is it the paranoid, basement troll ramblings about the app’s privacy settings. I’m not even upset that it’s making us all exercise AND learn the Metric System. No, the real reasons I will never recognize this as a full-fledged Pokemon experience are simple:
Cold, unflinching math. Japanese math, to be precise. The kind of math that involves monitoring twelve different sets of hidden values, each one impossible to course correct after a certain point in the game.
What am I talking about? Time for a history lesson. See, due to limitations in memory space on the original Gameboy cartridges, many of the game’s major stats had to be relegated to the back end. These hidden numbers, later to be known as Individual Values and Effort Values (IVs and EVs), all but determined how strong each monster could get. Think of IVs as the DNA of Pokemon. If your Blastoise has low IVs, it can never outshine a different Blastoise with higher IVs. In turn, the offspring of that Blastoise have a better chance of inheriting those good ‘genes’. It’s kind of like how some humans can grow up to be a Harlem Globetrotter while others become forum moderators. Then we have EVs, which are a whole bunch of other bullshit way too exhausting to get into right now.
So when you shriek, drunkenly, at the sky proclaiming “I Wanna Be The Very Best”, just know that what you’re really signing on for are countless hours, spanning multiple cartridges, in order to assemble the perfect Pokémon team through selective breeding and eugenics, spitting in Pokégod’s eye all the while, and still probably losing consistently to twelve-year-olds in South Korea.
And that is the truth: Pokemon was never meant to be about fun. It is “a job that you don’t get paid for”. So pick up a damn Gameboy, hatch 200 eggs, max out those EVs, and then come talk to me about what team you’re on. Speaking of the “Teams”, that brings me to:
- This shit…
I have never heard of a group of adults who needed wedgied this hard since The Monster Energy Party Zone at Van’s Warped Tour. What earth-shattering consequences have been “wrought” (complete douche choice of word here, guys) in the name of this app, aside from petty vandalism and a strongly worded suggestion that you stay out of that 7-Eleven’s parking lot? Harsher insults get leveled just by turning on Xbox Live than whatever this perceived hostility between factions might be. Look, every time you do some attention starved, wolf cry shit like this it takes away from someone who might actually be getting picked on. Real, like actual hazing sucks. That’s why there have been so many anti-bullying campaigns this decade. You know that you can’t be marginalized for picking the wrong fake team, right?
I like this guy’s creative license a lot better,
But even this interpretation has its problems: the obvious comparison to Team Rocket. We all know that Team Rocket was the gold standard for Pokemon bad guys. It was just straight up about the money with them. None of the recent series’ villains hold a candle. They’ve all just been shitty eco-terrorists/PETA rip-offs/ridiculous space cultists/generic misguided idealists. Still, even with their lame ass contrived mission statements, they at least effectively disrupted their respective communities. So far all the Teams of Pokemon Go have done to incite terror is just look weird and sweaty outside of the library.
Actually, I’m kind of tempted to reform Team Rocket and just go around menacing the neighborhood. Disguising myself and pulling off elaborate capers with giant Rube Goldberg-like contraptions that ensnare iPhones with nets and vacuums and cartoonish grabbing-appendages.
- The inevitable next round of these games.
How many Angry Birds rip-offs were there? Did we need 200 games about some dude running down a hallway? You didn’t download Fruit Ninja, did you? You and I are done professionally! Maybe I just don’t get mobile gaming. Maybe this is some strange cyclical irony where console gamers get indignant about mobile gamers in the same fashion that—the tragically named—PC Master Race have been such jagged turds all these years. I’m just worried that some programming jagoffs are going to copy and paste this formula and make whatever Insert Brand Go that they want.
With that said, if you download Harry Potter Go I will fart on you. We don’t need Game of Thrones Go, or SVU Go, or Yugioh Go. Sure, if you can make one of these and it’s somehow genuinely fun, then go ahead—actually, every month that you don’t make a Highlander Go is another month you miss out on $30 worth of microtransactions from me—but these games are not going to be good. They will be rushed and cynical and garbage. Kind of like all of the new Pokemon species in generation V.
Did I hear someone mention gross consumerism, causing society to devour its own tail? That must mean…
- Brands are making things a lot worse.
Content Farms—an industry previously dominated by Buzzfeed and those strange out-of-state radio station’s Facebook pages that your aunt likes—are quickly outnumbering actual news sources. It’s gotten so severe that even reputable brands are sharing memes. Memes are bad. Memes are the opposite of creative. When you “make” a meme, you are contributing to an infinite chain of diluted jokes, each exponentially less funny than its previous iteration; you are squeezing the luster out of whatever meaning or point the original image possessed; you are greenlighting Fuller House. When our vaguely humanoid ancestors from the savage future try to put the pieces together on our current era of history they will name us The Age of the Meme.
It didn’t take long for thirsty brands to appropriate Pokemon Go. In an effort to remind us that corporations are people too, here are just a few of the worst offenders.
And then finally…
I’m conflicted on this one. Brands using Pokemon right now are automatically grandmas but I have this rare congenital illness that makes me ‘Like’ everything I see about The Rock on social media.
It doesn’t stop with bad memes and ill-advised ad campaigns either. Agency PR douches are hard at work convincing other perpetually bewildered Gen X sales teams that this is the silver bullet to finally pierce the compact, leathery hides of Millennials and make them buy timeshares or whatever.
But really the main reason, I’m pissed:
- My Phone is too shitty and broken to play it
There is a Pokestop within striking distance of my house and by the time I buy a decent working phone you will all be level 500, you bastards. I caught a Growlithe on my wife’s phone and it just wasn’t the same.