Pokémon Go: What’s all the Fuss about? – Rhilo Mero, B.A. 3rd Sem English Hons


Pokemon Go is a game that has taken the world by storm with its ability to blur the lines between the virtual and real world. Its worldwide phenomena such  as these that make one marvel at the unassuming power of apps, arts, events  or be it performances and recitations like the one recently done by Vinatoli  Yeptho titled “Five Rules for Whomever it May Concern” that went viral on social media sites. Proof to the adage that ‘the world is your oyster’, technology and internet are changing the way the world functions, granting individuals and societies fame, popularity and creating worldwide sensations at a rate that we in Nagaland must also learn to take advantage of. Here’s more about the worldwide craze that Pokemon Go has created.

Pokémon Go: What’s all the Fuss about?

Before you ask any child what Pokémon is, chances are they will explain to you the basic idea about which you will find it easy to understand. However, for those parents and others who never heard of it, It is an animated children series where people catch different types of supernatural animals and monsters or, more appropriately ‘to make companions’ and train together for various competitions and become the best trainer or player. Pokémon is short for the original Japanese title ‘pocket monsters’ which is a media franchise managed by The Pokémon Company consortium between Nintendo, Game Freak, and Creatures. But what is Pokémon Go?

Pokémon Go is a game developed by Niantic for iOS and Android which is adapted in the form of a virtual world game that uses real-time and location of our world. Players point their cameras in different directions far and wide, in the real world and by flicking their fingers on their screen they capture Pokémon to score points. Pokémon Go has broken many records; it is used twice as much as the Facebook app on Android. People spent time in the game for an average of 75 min, while the latter only about 35. The usage of YouTube was dropped to 9% and Snapchat to about 18%, and the report of downloads of the game is up to a whopping 100 million people worldwide. The numbers itself prove how much the app overtook the world by storm.

The game has been shown to be advantageous, but at the same time there is a mean dark side to it too. On its merits, Twitter and several other social networking sites are flooded with the reports of children suffering from autism who are finally able to go out and play. It’s apparent that the game has greatly impacted their lives with tears of joy for the families. It has also helped people tackle depression and anxiety which are the real killers of the society. How? It motivates the users to get up and move out from their home-which is a real struggle for depressed people, hence improving their mental health, bringing laughter and happiness in their lives. Reuters Canada reported that the present war scenario in Syria is also reflected through the game where the Syrian Opposition groups have taken advantage and used the game to capture the attention of the world to the plight of children caught up in the five year war. Photographs of children in besieged Syrian town holding the pictures of Pokémon character appealing for help were published by the Syrian National Coalition. One of the many photographs of a child with a Pokémon character “Pikachu” reads “I am trapped in Douma(duma) in east Ghouta. Help me” Douma is a suburb in Damascus, one of the many places that are bombarded on a daily basis. “If you are looking for a Pokémon you can find it in Syria”, tweets the national coalition of Syria. Many Syrians feel that the world has forgotten and are ignoring a conflict which killed more than a quarter of a million people and displaced their lives. Besides ‘all for the good causes’ there are also negative impacts of the game like the headlines of how two youths crossed the border illegally but unintentionally from Canada into the US soil in a remote part of Montana while searching for Pokémon as stated in notey.com. They could have been killed or sent to juvenile home because of their actions. The ‘Fox News’ and ‘US News’ also reported that it has also led to a number of car accidents and a slew of mishaps stemming from distracted players. Pokémon characters appear in different places so the gamers are drawn to dark alleys, dangerous neighborhoods and sometimes targeted by criminals. People are charged with trespassing and invasion of privacy when strangers go about other’s property.  In India, there are instances of youths assembling at night when the rumors of rare Pokémon characters are spotted, which ends up creating unnecessary trouble for the localities. Certain historic places and museums and most of the middle-east countries have banned the game and religious leaders claimed it made the people obsessive and possessive; promoting gambling and Zionism hampering their spiritual lives.

In conclusion it depends on the person to be responsible. But the game “is not just a game anymore!” Let’s all be realistic and accept that it is changing people in and around the world. People are literally dying and at the same time living in a new era of higher form of communication through this mass social-networking game. It has been praised as well as criticized by many. Frankly speaking, right now I don’t know what to choose ‘to support it or go against it’, but what I do know for sure is that when the game becomes available in our region I’ll definitely play it, so will my friends and relatives. However, I urge people to remember these facts so that what you are playing is a fun game. Moreover, with this new app we see that people are going out and socializing in the manner before phones were invented, meeting face to face, with friends, but if you lose yourself so much in the game you are probably ‘gambling with your life’. Finally, I should say it’s safe for me to quote “Life is no Nintendo game, there is no restart button”, so play it carefully.

Degree of Thought is a weekly community column initiated by Tetso College in partnership with The Morung Express. Degree of Thought will delve into the social, cultural, political and educational issues around us. The views expressed here do not reflect the opinion of the institution. Tetso College is a NAAC Accredited UGC recognized Commerce and Arts College. The editors are Dr. Hewasa Lorin, Anjan Behera, Dr. Salikyu Sangtam, Nivibo Yiki, and Kvulo Lorin. For feedback or comments please email: dot@tetsocollege.org.

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